Second-hand goods

Originally published at: » Second-hand goods

The procedure for allocating resources, goods and services in a participatory economy– the participatory planning procedure – does not deal explicitly with the exchange of already produced goods, so called second-hand goods. Second hand goods in this context can be defined as goods that already have been asked for, produced and delivered in accordance with…

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Perhaps I should clarify that this article focuses on organised trade in second-hand goods. It is not concerned with individuals deciding to trade directly with each other without involving anybody else.


I feel that the approach proposed would make sense. Involving the Federations, in particular for the the bigger ticket items, would give them a sense of current inventory levels that would feed into production equations. I could see a number of advantages especially if the federations build in an assessment approach that is perceived as fair to the consumer, otherwise people would sell their items on the open market. As well, if a person decides to move from one end of the USA to the other, it might make more sense to sell a washer and dryer locally and pick up another used one at the other end of the move, avoiding moving expenses. So a fair and consistent applied assessment policy would be needed.

A fair trade policy would reduce the risk of re-emerging markets. Say for example a young entrepreneur offers a better price for a W/D than the federation, and sells these at a profit, accumulating capital in the process, could create a new class of people better off than the rest of the population. But, they would need access to assets in the commons such as buildings, making unlikely for this to occur unless unused space in an existing enterprise is used to store such items. A black market of sorts could potentially emerge. I wouldn’t worry about small ticket items, like a used IKEA desk etc.

Collectibles would be an interesting phenomenon. People like to collect things so as to have bragging rights so i wonder if it could be tolerated for some items at some level, and not for other items, and have Smithsonian type museums in various locations so that more people could enjoy rare items instead of just a few. I’m not sure about the inheritance piece because people could find ways to gift items to relatives before passing, like valuable paintings.

Overall, i believe it is a sound approach and a good starting point when the Parecon is eventually introduced. Im sure that over time, the people would figure out and fix whatever cracks emerge once implemented.



I enjoyed reading this article. It speaks to an important issue that has not been addressed in the participatory-economy literature until now, and this article gives some specific proposals to address matters. Thank you for writing and posting.

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