Participatory economics, often abbreviated parecon, is an economic system proposed by 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", 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 has significantly informed the interim International Organization for a Participatory Society. Participatory Economics has also significantly shaped the interim International Organization for a Participatory Society.
Read more about Participatory Economics: Decision-making Principle, Work in A Participatory Economy, Allocation in A Participatory Economy, Albert-Hahnel Class Theory, Opposition To Central Planning and Capitalism, Participatory Economics and Socialism, Criticisms
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