Participatory economics

Participatory economics, often abbreviated parecon, is an economic system proposed in the 1990s primarily by activist and political theorist Michael Albert and radical economist Robin Hahnel, among others. It uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism, it is described as "an anarchistic economic vision",[1] and is a form of socialism, since in a parecon the means of production are owned in common. The underlying values that parecon seeks to implement are equity, solidarity, diversity, workers' self-management and efficiency. (Efficiency here means accomplishing goals without wasting valued assets.) It proposes to attain these ends mainly through the following principles and institutions: workers' and consumers' councils utilizing self-managerial methods for making decisions balanced job complexes remuneration according to effort and sacrifice participatory planning Albert and Hahnel stress that parecon is only meant to address an alternative economic theory and must be accompanied by equally important alternative visions in the fields of politics, culture and kinship. The authors have also discussed elements of anarchism in the field of politics, polyculturalism in the field of culture, and feminism in the field of family and gender relations as being possible foundations for future alternative visions in these other spheres of society. Stephen R. Shalom has begun work on a participatory political vision he calls "par polity". Both systems together make up the political philosophy of Participism, which ha significantly informed the interim International Organization for a Participatory Society.Decision-making principle One of the primary propositions of parecon is that all persons should have a say in decisions proportionate to the degree to which they are affected by them. This decision-making principle is often referred to as self-management. In parecon, it constitutes a replacement for the mainstream economic conception of economic freedom. [edit]Work in a participatory economy Part of a series on Organized labour The labour movement[show] Labour rights[show] Trade unions[show] Labour parties[show] Academic disciplines[show] v t e [edit]Democratic Work Life Workers in a Participatory Economy would make decisions about what to do in the workplace according to the above decision making principle, where workers have say in proportion to how much they are affected by a decision. Workplace decisions might be through majority vote, requiring 50% majority. Sometimes a higher percentage, such as a 2/3 majority, or 80%, or even consensus might be needed. For instance, upgrades to a plant that would require a great deal of time and effort for all workers might need greater than 50% vote, as workers would be affected adversely by the decision. Another example is when a decision might have advantages but involves some risk, such as raising a heavy beam while building a bridge that might endanger some workers, but will make the bridge be built faster. Such a decision would seem to require consensus among the affected workers, giving any one worker veto power due to the danger. Personal decisions of any one worker, such as where to place pictures on their desk, do not require a vote at all, as they affect only one individual.