New PE Podcast: Call for Topics

A number of folks involved with organizing and contributing to the Participatory Economy forum and website, myself included, are starting a new podcast themed to the model of a participatory economy.

We are looking for suggestions for discussion topics for the podcast, consistent with the theme of a participatory economy. What should we talk about? Please submit suggestions to this thread. Thanks!

I myself have some suggestions:

  1. Misconceptions about a participatory economy. The model has been out there for thirty years now, and has been talked about here and there. A lot of times commentators get things wrong. What do they get wrong? (Bonus question: Why?)

  2. What’s the use of talking about this? Why bother to discuss a model that seems so far removed from actuality that even leftists never talk about it?

  3. On a related note, how does this movement break in to the left? Or, on a related matter – should it bother? Maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps we should try a different approach for building widespread awareness instead.


I like your proposals and think that maybe ‘Misconceptions about a PE’ could be done in 2 parts since there are a lot of misconceptions.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. ‘PE is a Green Economy’ about how a PE meets the goal of Ecological sustainability and how understanding this can help with the climate crises now. For Example knowing about externalities and how they are handled in a PE will shine a lite on the fact that Market economies don’t.

  2. ‘PE Intro to the basic values and institutions’ Maybe this could be the first one coz people listing to all the episodes might need to just have a basic understanding of the PE model first before going into more depth with the other episodes.

  3. ‘PE achieves Income Morality’ a discussion about the debate about income equality or ‘income inequality’ and how, I think, this is the wrong framing of the issue and should be about ‘Income Morality’ instead and how PE achieves it.

  4. ‘PE Innovation & Creativity for All!’ How Innovation is done in a PE. How PE creates optimal conditions for Innovation & Creativity and that it dose it for all not just a lucky few.

That’s 6 all together. I can probably think of more as time goes on but I’ll leave it at that for now.


More suggestions:

  1. A question for participatory economy advocates: How did you get interested in the participatory economy model?

  2. What are so many leftists opposed to PE?

  3. How are political borders to be drawn in a PE?

  4. Can iteration rounds vary in length?

  5. In the event a rule should be changed because a better rule would be found or invented, how would the rules of a PE be changed?

  6. The Iteration Facilitation Board – IFB – is a clunky name. What would we rename it to? (Maybe extend the exercise to renaming other institutions in a PE?)

  7. What are the biggest sources of confusion in a PE?

  8. Have an episode devoted to the idea “Choose your pollution”.

@claude asked a question on another thread which I rephrased as follows and I wanted to add to this list: How should balanced jobs account for different levels of experience among different workers in a workplace?

Wonderful idea Mitchell, podcasts should help to spread the word. I have a few suggestions to add:

  1. How is money created in a Parecon compared to how it is created in a capitalist market economy.

  2. What proportion of a population’s Human Resources would be required to provide the basic necessities such as food, water and shelter (housing, clothing) and what would that leave to produce discretionary items. Illustrate how societal members would prioritize the goods they wish to consume or services they wish to be provided for themselves.

  3. How does a Participatory Economy minimize inflation and has no recessions or depressions.

  4. Housing for all! How a Parecon ensures there are no homeless.

  5. Real estate - how homes would be priced and allocated; how fairness is factored into pricing for more desirable locations such as lakeside/oceanfront properties.

  6. Advantages of everyone earning the same wages - how much would consumer goods cost in a Parecon vs capitalist economy.

  7. How not-for-profits and charitable organizations in all sectors would benefit from operating within a Parecon. Prioritizing these as needs would ensure their stability and sustainability until they problems they seek to resolve are solved.

  8. Illustrate how pollution costs are factored into the production of a good, ultimately making the least environmental option the most favored from a production cost standpoint. I.e. producing foam, paper cups vs reusable mugs as options and how the financial incentives would influence consumer behavior to use reusable mugs.

  9. Planned obsolescence - there is none in a Parecon. How products would be built to last 2 or 3 times longer than the products we buy today and possibly only for a marginal increase in production costs. Cite companies like Miele who make long lasting products but they would not cost any more than cheaply made and expensive Dyson products. It would free up labour for producing other items or free up time for leisure activities.

  10. How a market system would function for second hand items. It’s positive impact on having to produce less goods.

  11. Transitioning from a capitalist market economy to a Parecon: Legislation that would need to be changed; phasing in new institutions as old ones are phased out; etc.

Some of these topics would need to be fleshed out within our discussion forums. All the more to talk about and figure out!


Another topic I think is important to cover is about technology & robotisation being used to replace the work people don’t want to do or is dangerous and how people don’t loose there jobs but rather still have jobs and (because of the efficiency gains) are better off in terms of income for it.

I think a nice concept to include for the podcast would be about realizing & developing a political economy based off of the insights of parecon. I’ve been reading Unorthodox Marxism for this, which was an older book that Albert/Hahnel wrote in 1978; it might be interesting to kinda revitalize their insights from back when.

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Another podcast topic idea: The interactions of art and a participatory economy. There’s an excellent article called “Why Artists Ought to Endorse Parecon” that can help to inform this discussion.

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…and to add to that, think about environmental organizations and how they would benefit from being able to present proposals for the work they do, not to mention all other manner of registered charities who rely in most cases on volunteers to carry out their mandates. Once the basics for survival are covered (food, water and shelter) are covered by our collective labour input, then its up to our imaginations how any unused labour can be used up by citizens to do whatever we collectively deem worthwhile and of interest to pursue.

I love number four particularly. Down my alley.

This is in reference to post number 3 of this thread.

I reckon some emphasis on the FACT that PE is an “anarchist” economy (shout out to Anders), a solidarity economy and is a clear coherent vision, with institutional scaffolding (to use Michael’s most recent terminology) that ACTUALLY realises the maxim from each to each. Something anarchists and Marxists too, like to leave kind of vague for some principled reason.

The left landscape uses phrases like solidarity economy, eco-socialism (Paul Street would use this one a lot with rarely…sometimes…a call out to PE), along with others, and from each to each often, without ever elucidating what any of it truly means. Gar Alperovitz uses the phrase participatory planning but with no reference really to PE (he’s talking something else of course because he thinks PE not feasible). Many talk of the need for planning and never mention the existence of the only non-market non-central planning system out there…strange indeed). As if those within the Left landscape (from here on end LL) are afraid of doing so. The “myth of the blueprint” (from here on end MOB)AND what I call the “ignorance argument” (from here on end IA) I think are to blame in a sense. There’s a kind of “fear of goal” (from here on end FOG) involved. Self-organising and improvising our (who the “our” is is part of the FOG) way to a supposed better future (???) seems the predominant position. The Next System Project and Commons Transition are exemplars of this approach along with others of course. They recognise PE but generally ignore it.

This approach is personified by this quote of John Jordan’s I lifted from a book called A Postcapitalist Politics by J. K. Gibson-Graham,

“Our movements are trying to create a politics that challenges all the certainties of traditional leftist politics, not by replacing them with new ones, but by dissolving any notion that we have answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal. . . . We are trying to build a politics . . . that acts in the moment, not to create something in the future but to build in the present, it’s the politics of the here and now.”

and that I critiqued (rather strongly and with some venom…can there ever be anything else but the here and now? I’ll stop there…the quote does my head in) in a review I did of of Michael Albert’s podcast…sort of…more a piece influenced by his general approach and attitude…and that Micheal subsequently went over with a fine tooth comb on his podcast…for what reason I have no idea…I’m embarrassed every time I try to read it.

So there needs to be a shift within the LL, a better understanding of the MOB and the IA which both tend toward FOG.

PE addresses all of these.

Shit that’s me joining the modern day fetish with the acronym.


This is in reference to post 2 of this thread.