What is “Parecon”? (From Q. & A. in Parecon)
“Parecon” is short for participatory economics which is the name of an economic system designed to challenge capitalism – developed by Michael Albert and others
Parecon’s institutions are designed to enhance solidarity, diversity, equity, and self management, while they produce and distribute economic products to meet needs and develop potentials. Parecon is classless.
Parecon’s defining institutions are:
(i) federations of workers and consumers councils;
(ii) decision-making with each actor having a say proportional to the degree he or she is affected;
(iii) income rewarded for duration and intensity of work as well as for hardship undergone while working;
(iv) a division of labor that gives each participant a mix of responsibilities conferring comparable empowerment and quality of life while at work; and finally,
(v) producers and consumers cooperatively negotiating economic inputs and outputs in light of true social costs and benefits. ”
There is plenty of resource material on how participatory economics. There are books, web sites, audio recordings of talks. What I will attempt in this section is to:
* Lay out some of the basic ideas of Parecon using the above resource materials; and maybe breaking them down a bit for the beginner. I will update as time permits and welcome comment from interested parties of groups and individuals, links etc.
*Compare these ideas with how economics work in the capitalist system; using various approaches in explanation and experiences from American, European and other cultures.
Parecon is pretty much a common sense approach to economics. It is probably what people would be doing if they were not being brainwashed, by education and advertising, and being bending unnaturally into an economic system that rewards competition and greed. The challenge therefore, is not so much learning a new system, but unlearning an old one.