A Participatory Economy Introduction Video

I want to make a short video introducing a Participatory Economy. I’ve written a draft script below and I’d love to get your feedback and ideas. :grinning:

:video_camera: ----------------------------- :video_camera:

Part 1: Opening Scene
The video starts with montage of newspaper headlines of bad events on the climate crisis, inequality, corporate abuse, etc.
Followed by a conversation between three people.

Person A: “Capitalism sucks.”

Person B: “Yeah, but what’s the alternative?”

Person A: “An economy for people, not profits.”

Person B: “Nice words, but how does that actually work in practice?”

Person A: “errr, I don’t know.”

Person C: “Have you heard of a Participatory Economy?”
“A Participatory Economy is model that explains how we can organise a modern economy around cooperation and solidarity instead of competition and greed.”

Person A & B: “Interesting… tell us more.”

Part 2: Goals of a Participatory Economy
illustration of goals: people around a table for democracy, a pie with equal slices for equity, trees for environment

Person C:
“Well, we start with our goals - we want an economy that is 1) democratic: that gives people a say in decisions that affect them; 2) that is equitable: that fairly distributes burdens and benefits; and 3) is environmentally sustainable: so that we protect our environment.”

“To achieve this a Participatory Economy is organised around three key features:”

Part 3: Institutions of a Participatory Economy
An overview illustration of a participatory economy. Participatory Workplace left, annual participatory planning in middle and Participatory Neighbourhood on the right.


  1. Democratic Workers’ Councils
  2. Democratic Neighbourhood Consumers’ Councils
  3. and, an Annual Participatory Planning procedure where these councils plan how to use society’s common resources.

3a. Democratic Workers Councils’
“Instead of Top-Down Corporations, every workplace is organised to give every worker a say in decisions that affect them. The main decision-making body of a workplace is called The Workers Council where ever worker is a member.”

illustration of a workplace, with people meeting

“Workers design procedures for fairly distributing income between themselves based on effort or sacrifice, and distribute empowering tasks into jobs so that everyone has the confidence and knowledge to participate in decision-making.”

illustration of workers creating a constitution

3b. Democratic Neighbourhood Consumers’ Councils’

“Every family or household belongs to a neighbourhood consumers’ council”

illustration of a few homes and people meeting in the neighbourhood

“This is where a community comes together to make decisions around collective goods, like new park swings, or a library.”

3c. Federations of Democratic Councils

“These worker and consumer councils send rotated and recallable delegates to higher level federations for decisions affecting the wider industry or larger geographical regions”

illustration of nested federation structure

3d. Participatory Planning

“And finally, instead of workplaces competing against each other to maximise their profits via markets, every year, these democratic worker and consumer councils participate in a decentralised planning process. This creates a rough plan based on what people want to consume and what to use our resources to produce, taking into the account the true social costs of what it takes to make things, such as any environmental pollution.”

illustration of participatory planning procedure

Part 4 Examples

Person A and B: “Wow! sounds great. Are there any examples of this in practice?”

Person C: “Yes, the model is based on numerous real-world examples in history and today of people organising around cooperation and solidarity. The Participatory Economy model just fleshes these out into a coherent model for an entire economic system.”

“For example:”

“Worker controlled industries in Spain in the 1930s.”
show images of workers in CNT

“Tens of thousands of Worker Cooperatives around the world today”
show images of worker cooperatives, like mondragon

“Participatory Budgeting”
show images/video of participatory budgeting

Part 5 End

Person A and B: “So maybe another world really is possible!!! Hmmm… I still have lots of questions though about how this works…”

Person C: “Sure, this was just a very brief overview. Go to PartcipatoryEconomy.org to learn more.”


That sounds great! I think visuals will help a lot. I like the ones on the new website, and I’m imagining something like that going on in the video.

Would it be worth mentioning how property is owned? The way I start imagining this stuff at a fundamental level is by acknowledging that productive property (the rivers, lakes, trees, minerals, and workplaces) is automatically inherited and freely available to everyone. Then from there we are coming up with methods to decide who gets to use what during a period of time.

I think starting with that before jumping into all of the structures would be helpful, but maybe that’s just how I like to think about it.

Looking forward to seeing this!

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Thanks Michael.

Yes, I think that is a very good suggestion. I’ll add in social ownership at the beginning of section 3 before introducing the key structural features. Very good.

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Something like this?

Part 3

“To achieve these goals, in a Participatory Economy the resources we use to produce goods and services in the economy are owned by everyone in society equally, instead of by a tiny minority like today who gain vast power and wealth as a result. We call this social ownership or ‘the productive commons’.”

illustration of ownership of the means of production being replaced from tiny capitalist class to social ownership

“The knowledge, technology and resources we inherit are a product of thousands of years of human endeavour, which everyone deserves to have access to and benefit from.”

"To decide on how our productive commons are used in a democratic and efficient way, a Participatory Economy is organised around three key structures:”

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Hi Jason

I think your script is awesome. I published a video intended for an audience into spirituality that I’d like to share with you…

In hindsight I should have gone for a more introductory version but I wasn’t sure whether I could pull it off and wanted to field test this product before approaching our group to make a generic video. After putting it out there it got 203 views! I thought of eventually producing several other videos to target environmentalists or unions for a grassroots organizing initiative but that would be a really big project.

I used iMovie to produce it, stock photos and did the voice over. I’d be happy to collaborate with if you wish. I have the iMovie file I could share, you may be able to use some of the footage or music and/or rearrange some of it to suit your project. I managed to extend the run time on the animated gifs so that I could better adapt them and run long enough to suit the narration.

Anyway, it’s a great initiative!


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Yeah, that looks great to me!

Nice, simple, concise and distraction free. Well done. Would you do it as a video call/ zoom meeting thing or in a room together.

I love it! My only advice is to keep it simple an short.

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Hi Claude. Thanks, and also great work with your video. I am not familiar with the 5th dimension audience, but I really like the script you wrote and you found some nice video footage. I’m thinking with this introduction video to do it as an illustrated animation and will ask my brother who can use adobe after effects to help. I think doing more targeted videos for difference audiences is a great idea.

I hadn’t thought about that actually. I was thinking doing the whole thing as an illustrated animation. Do you think using real people acting out the script could work better? maybe for the introduction and end sections? Shall we experiment and try it out?

Working with real people playing out the script feels intuitively better, maybe I’m just tarnished by the 10+ years old parecon comedy animation on youtube? But as said, having real people doing this feels better.

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Yes, let’s give it a try.

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Jason, this is a good start. I think that the script should mention two of the other main institutions – remuneration per effort and sacrifice, and jobs balanced for various criteria like desirability and empowerment (and caring labor?).

Thanks Mitchell. I have in part 3a the following in the script:

Do you think this is enough or should we elaborate more? I’m trying to keep this video short to just give viewers a gist. We can experiment with a bit more explanation here and see what we think.

@Jason : I like this, yes. It’s good to include it in, it’s a good summary, and it gives just enough for viewers to think about.