Varoufakis and Albert discussing participatory economy

Well known Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis and co-developer of participatory economy, writer and philosopher Michael Albert have an ongoing discussion (or debate) on participatory economy, hosted at Meta, the Centre for Postcapitalist Civilisation.

I thought this would be of interest to forum users:

I’ve found the discussion thus far has been quite devoid of actual economic discussion, veering into much broader philosophical ideas about nature of post-capitalism. As the debate is titled as focused on specific proposal for a democratic economy, namely participatory economy co-developed by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, it is strange how little discussion on specific institutional solutions of participatory economy and why they are proposed there is yet.

Would be interesting to discuss merits/shortcomings of the Varoufakis/Albert discussion, with perhaps the goal of thinking about how better convey the unique aspects and usefulness of participatory economy for all people working towards a democratically planned economy devoid of capitalism.

I think that Michael Albert should have replied to Yanis Varoufakis with a concrete working example rather than with a rhetorical question.

As I read it, here’s a very brief summary of the first three parts of their discussion:

Michael Albert: I advocate for a system that involves equitable work and negotiation instead of markets.
Yanis Varoufakis: I am concerned about the terms “equitable” and “negotiation”.
Michael Albert: Why would you be concerned about the terms “equitable” and “negotiation”?

Instead of heading to some kind of agreement or convergence, they then seem to be going down separate roads in a way that’s not helpful to each other or to readers. And instead of addressing Yanis’ concern, Michael is dismissing it.

In my opinion, Michael Albert should have instead responded in his reply as follows:

Michael Albert: I advocate for a system that involves equitable work and negotiation instead of markets.
Yanis Varoufakis: I am concerned about the terms “equitable” and “negotiation”.
Michael Albert: I hear your concern. Let me explain what I mean by “equitable” and “negotiation” with some detailed concrete examples of how the system I advocate for would work so that you can see what I mean and which can put those terms on firmer footing.

Instead of doing so, Yanis Varoufakis replies himself with some concrete proposals, all of which sound good and are worth fighting for, but which don’t involve proposing a testable economic model.

The discussion is very polite, yes, but so far I don’t read it as being very helpful. I don’t see it changing either person’s mind, nor do I see it having an impact on the opinion of readers of the debate, sad to say.


Yeah those are very valid points and a good, specific problem regarding dismissing negotiation like that in the discussion.

There seem to be all kinds of layers to this debate or aspects.

One is that Meta is new. It’s part of DiEM25. Parecon has been neglected pretty much over it’s thirty year history. That Yanis, Meta and DiEM are onto it means it becomes more visible…hopefully. This can only be a good thing. There is a feeling Parecon is stirring up the waters a little. May be an illusion, but you never know.

Another is that when Michael enters into a debate he has to toss up…I’m assuming this totally…who the readers are and it seems to me he often adopts the view that it’s new readers, new people, that are being exposed to something like Parecon. So he writes accordingly…unlike myself who just writes whatever and gets into trouble (conjures up the free will debate don’t it. Can us people do otherwise than what we actually do do? Does it matter that we can’t? Is acting freely compatible with determinism if it be true? Ok, I’ll refrain. Is the ability to decided to refrain, rather than even actually refraining, all that’s needed for acting freely? Ok, I’ll actually refrain.)

For me it was more, ok, another debate that probably won’t go anywhere. Just squat somewhere on some marginal website no one knows about. Both participants stating their views in a well-mannered way, then going home. Yanis holding firm to his market/socialist type notions and Michael holding firm to Parecon. But then I thought, well, perhaps there are many out there who know of Yanis but not Michael and not so much Parecon. So for Michael it’s always about outreach and getting more people to consider seriously something like Parecon. Parecon is the outlier here. It’s unique. But it’s getting publicity.

Another is the format. Both participants are restricted to word count. Got to be concise which means it’s not like the other debates on ZNet. So there is a frustrating element here. But then maybe more for those of us familiar with Parecon and the arguments but not so much a new audience.

Another frustrating component is about Meta. Meta verges on the overly intellectual. Pushing beyond folk commonsense and knowledge. There’s a desire at Meta, in my opinion, to analyse beyond what I would regard as sufficient and necessary. To me Parecon, as a scaffold, is sufficient and necessary. One can go beyond if one wants, intellectually and perhaps in institutional detail and I would not have a problem with people doing so. I would have a problem however with things getting beyond the comprehension and understandability of “the folk”. I would not have a problem with extensive institutional detail that could invoke the notion of a “blueprint” (a mythical beast I have yet to stumble across…anywhere). Why? Because you just look at what’s proposed, discuss and deal with it. If most of it can be thrown out because “everyone” thinks it goes too far so be it. Not an issue. But over intellectualisation is an issue. And Yanis hints at it himself by invoking Marx and philosophically questioning words like equity and such, yet the format doesn’t really allow for enough elaboration of such ideas. So far no Hegel…thank fucking supercreator!

Then there’s the wait between each participant. I would wager Michael is ready at any moment to respond to Yanis, but I’m not so sure about Yanis. The wait, time lag, between responses is frustrating.

Also frustrating is that one can only comment it seems at ZNet. Not that commenting actually does anything at all. But this whole kind of Meta thing has a kind of keep out mentality about it. There’s no commenting facility at all, no forum, like this PE site, which I find pointless really. It’s like another Next System Project where they have a section where multiple players can dump their visions and views about what post-capitalism is, should be and leave. And at Meta, it appears there is the view that we are already in a post-capitalist world. This tendency to over intellectualise economics…for instance the idea we are in “late stage” capitalism is only of any meaning to someone who’s read Wallerstein’s world systems theory. It’s totally meaningless at the folk level and it’s at that level all this stuff has to get out. Like how do you get people like Bill Baker, Matt Damon’s character in Stillwater, and his daughter Allison to believe that life can or could be, if we changed the economic system, less than brutal?

It’s kind of strange in a way that these kinds of discussion are formatted like this and that visions for tomorrow…because that’s what visions are for…are always merely dumped somewhere by “individuals” and left for other “individuals” to read and make their “individual” minds up as if that’s how shit has to work or should work etc… It’s often just too much for “the folk” if they even know where to look.

One can go on Commons Transition and read lengthy transcriptions on the meaning of value that are so overly intellectual and philosophical it renders them pointless for “the folk”. There are lengthy discussions , around the traps, about “Art” and it’s role within the Left Landscape that I find obnoxious in the sense of Art being some special category of life that only a special category of person can do. Arguments about innovation, as if that matters as much as basic desired values. And as if fostering those values alone and getting people to agree on what they mean…like equity…ain’t hard enough, let alone having to try and match or outdo market capitalism’s supposed amazing innovative nature…fuck off.

But for once I’d rather see a serious discussion about where visions diverge along a spectrum and where they remain similar than just these debates between two individuals with two individual visions. A collating of ideas for fuck sake. Collaboration rather than DEBATE. Why constantly argue the points? Why not just see where they diverge along a spectrum and admit that shit, if I’m wrong then maybe you’re right, but if you’re wrong, maybe I’m right. So Parecon isn’t a “different” vision to Varoufakis’s or anyone else’s but rather sits somewhere else on the spectrum of change and it just addresses things that market socialism may not. So rather than say, I think your planning system is not feasible, you say, “fuck me, you guys came up with a mutually cooperative participatory non-centralised planning system? Who does that? That’s fucking awesome. Let’s make sure that as many people as possible know it exists. And maybe there’s a way that some of the ideas included in Parecon can inform my market based model, which could be superseded by your non-market model, eventually because my model is really just say some variation of maybe, Olin Wright’s ideas, or Schwieckart’s ideas or Alperovitz’s ideas, along some spectrum.”

The same SHOULD go with discussions about post-capitalist debates/discussions with anarchists. But you see it doesn’t happen. Anarchists hold their grounds on principle, because, well, they’re anarchists. Declared anarchists. Or they’re even overbearingly arrogant anti-anarchist anarchists trying to outsmart the outsmartest. For fuck sake. Even Chomsky won’t debate or discuss Parecon with Michael and one of Michael’s main reasons for desiring that isn’t to prove Noam wrong, but rather to garner as much visibility for Parecon as possible. The late David Graeber called Michael a “theorist” as if that’s all Parecon amounts to. It’s just a theory, and not really practical as if anarchism in some basic sense is a practical and innate non-theoretical position that will some how miraculously just appear…see Zapatistas and Rojava…and a world of 9 billion people really doesn’t need an economy…production, consumption and allocation…to be spelled out in any detail. Like the second smartest anti-anarchist anarchist in the world Bob Black declaring we must get rid of work and well, that’s it. Just get rid of it and make it fun. There ya go. Of course he thinks Chomsky is a Marxist. For fuck sake. So maybe sucking up one’s principles and discussing these matters in ways that are productive for the whole Left landscape, working together, is a better strategy, rather than just a bunch of clever, intellectuals holding their ground. Because let’s face it, once you’ve declared publicly that you hold to certain views, say of the great man Karl, you probably going to be less likely to all of a sudden, when confronted by another individual’s views, renounce your position and admit perhaps you are just plain wrong. Or that even perhaps that those views are just plain irrelevant and unnecessary. That may be embarrassing.

The folk view of equity and whatever else is far more important than Marx’s or any philosophers for that matter. Or even better than Nob Black’s ideas (sorry, typo). Folk intuitions play an important role in all this stuff and Meta comes across, to me at least, a little verging on beyond the folk, which calls into questions it’s practicality.

The practicality of these debates/discussions/sites is what matters along with how many people even look at them. What should really matter is that market socialism is infinitely…well perhaps not infinitely…better that market capitalism. So is it a transitional kind of phase change toward something even possibly better, like a non-market participatory planned economy? Viewed from this position Parecon isn’t something to be debated and proven wrong by the likes of a few individuals who often stand way apart from folk intuitions about these matters, mainly because they’ve read…and like to let people know they have (see Nob Black). Or even worse, declared not feasible by similar individuals. It’s actually merely a real possibility on the spectrum and we should be thankful it’s there. That people thought it up. I suspect even Nob Black would like people to read about his ideas re work and find it worthy or valuable. I have and think there’s merit. But not in Nob’s arrogant isolationist with me or against me I’m hard but fair but definitely smarter than everyone else out there attitude. Perhaps I shouldn’t call him Nob Black, but it’s kind of fun. And I’m trying to make this, writing this, this “work”, funnish.

So Chomsky (the Marxist intellectual…lol) has issues with Parecon around remuneration (principled) and whether it stretches credulity based on what I call the ignorance argument. So what? He could be wrong. The argument he makes about us not really knowing enough to come up with a new system in some whole sense doesn’t account for the fact that two people did come up with Parecon and think it viable. Are they ignorantly overstepping to think that? Who cares. Look at it seriously because Albert and Hahnel are serious people, not whacky goofballs with science fiction type ideas on their minds (Nob may think otherwise and not be able to refrain from saying so). The ignorance argument actually suggests we look at everything rather than ignore some…even REAL blueprints…in case “we” (the elusive WE. Is Meta a general all round inclusive folk “we” or a very select “We”?) have missed something. Some say, almost irrespective of this ignorance argument, that there are many possible economies, which is odd. Well, maybe there actually aren’t. The ignorance argument makes it possible that for anything around the present population of this earth that there is in fact only one all round general set of economic institutions that will foster the values we all innately, secretly or even unconsciously desire and that promotes ecological sanity. And anyway to say we could have many economies really should invoke more detailed discussion as to what that really means and how all those apparently different economies speak to one another or interact. Just saying we can go local is meaningless. Just saying we need a solidarity economy is meaningless. Eco-socialism is meaningless. Make work fun is meaningless.

A basic income is also meaningless from a folk standpoint. The first question anyone would ask is how much? A living wage is meaningless. What does “living” mean? I can see outrageously long drawn out debates at Commons Transition about this stuff. Then of course, how much would a “living” wage be? Why that much? Who decides? Why can’t a basic income be fifty thousand dollars a year for everyone instead of the usual 10-12000? Start from there, not from way down below. Then work your way through arguments that will inevitable divulge the underlying premises or positions from which someone is arguing. Why not just declare that we could print that amount of money easily…it just appears, like a bank loan, in your bank account? What would a basic income like that do to the existing economy? What does it tell you about the existing economy? Maybe that it’s absurd, along with markets? After a while one begins to realise all people are doing is arguing from some already held theoretical basis, ideological position or belief in some set of economic institutions that put arbitrary constraints on how much a basic income can be. If in your head you have a certain economic system in mind then the basic income can only be x. If another, it can be y. If another it can be z. Arbitrary stuff really. Parecon in some sense was built ex nihilo, from a set of values the economy needed to foster and compared to already existing economic systems and institutions and how they faired fostering them.

It’s like arguing for economic efficiency. As Michael says, that would depend on what you believe in value wise. If you think it ok a few should get real rich and the many can live boring, tedious and banal lives, often very short, the the most efficient economy is capitalism coupled with markets.

One can argue till the desert frogs come out to spawn over the meaning of equity and the “dangers” that lurk within. But for fuck sake, most of us have a pretty simple idea of what freedom of opportunity perhaps is without sitting down with Harry Frankfurt and going through his On Equality with a fine tooth comb. “Fuck man, I just want to be able to buy me a reasonable guitar that holds its tuning and have enough time to pursue my creative drive to a degree that satisfies, perhaps without being totally self-indulgently selfish”. Now rewrite that sentence and replace “to buy a reasonable guitar that holds its tuning” with x. That requires access to the social pie. How to access it? It asks about what the social pie consists of. That sentence suggests a willingness to admit that one cannot just sit idly by and let others make the stuff one wants and just consuming it. It suggests, even if only just, a notion of social value and utility. And it suggests the idea of leisure time, time for oneself, where perhaps creative drives and maybe “living” for most can really be pursued.

So viewed from that point of view and not from some endless incomprehensible philosophical discussion about the meaning of equity and the “dangers” that lurk within, one can ask simple questions about economic institutions and structures to see if they provide and foster what “the folk” want.

Of course we can’t ask every single member of “the folk” because that’s just ridiculous and many will no doubt answer as Bill Baker and his daughter Allison believe, that life is brutal and that’s it. But we can certainly present change with a view to “the folk” mindset and basic commonsense.

And I guarantee you, even without having read Yanis’s ideas for a post-capitalist system, yet, that much of it will be difficult to digest being that he is an economist, has read Marx and declared, at least to some degree, himself a Marxist of sorts. Schwieckart is similar and similarly difficult and Yanis is driving down a very similar path. And that’s not good enough. It just isn’t. I hope I’m wrong.

Often these debates do come down to who has more credentials and/or who is cooler or better known. Yanis probably wins that race in a sense…not to have a go at Michael. Lack of credentials and coolness is not of interest to me, but to many it kind of is. So I can see Yanis being declared the “winner” of this debate perhaps regardless of the fact that when it comes to change there shouldn’t ever be a winner per se. Change is what’s important. Change in the way we do things. And those things we have changed and presently do will determine whether or not everyone, on a relatively as good as “we” can get equal basis…(straight away I can hear the philostophers [shout out to FZ] crowing)…has a chance of “buying” a guitar that holds its tuning and fulfilling their creative desires. See, that’s a basic way of looking at equality. Equality is merely a way of making life for everyone less brutal and if possible…and the ignorance argument suggests we should shoot for perfection…wonderfully relaxed.

Debates can go on forever. The free will “debate” is one such. God damn: Consequence arguments, determinism, indeterminism, incompitabilist arguments, compatibilist arguments, moral responisibility, principle of alternative possibilities, sourcehood and manipulation arguments, deterministic foreknowledge, theistic foreknowledge, leeway compatibilism, indeterminate initiators, counterfactuals, elbow room, basic ultimate source argument, Frankfurt cases, dilemma defence, flicker defence, decisions in the head as opposed to external action, could you have decided otherwise, refrained or acted otherwise, what is it to act otherwise, what would an alternative action to making a cup of tea or scratching your nose be or need to be, even time travel and on and on.

Changing the economic system is and should not be anything like this. Nor is it like making a vaccine. Gar Alperovitz has a pretty good handle on it. It’s a matter if practical application. What can we actually do. But Alperovitz is wrong when he says Parecon is not feasible (personal communication). Schwieckart is wrong when he said, channelling Jeremy Bentham or perhaps Lenin (Bentham said it first), Parecon is nonsense on stilts. Not only is this wrong but it’s arrogant and unhelpful. John Jordan, along with others who believe in improvising our way to a better future or “self-organising” as we go, is wrong. Not just wrong but actually quite silly when he, Jordan himself, says,

“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.”

Unhelpful, and who “our movements” are is worth thinking about a little. And all market socialists are wrong, when they say markets are necessary. As are anarchists when they suggest we do not need “remuneration” or some accounting method in an economy spelled out to any degree.

All are wrong, but they are all right as well. They all want change and advocate for something that sits along a spectrum of possible change and that is somehow shaped by internal beliefs and principles. But essentially it’s the same path they are all on. Yes some veer off in seemingly crazy directions, but who cares…they could be on the right path, we’re ignorant remember…but essentially it’s a matter of how far you are willing to go.

So where does Parecon sit on the spectrum and where does Yanis’s view sit on that spectrum. And how do we see them as moving in the same direction and how do we bridge the gap or at least keep Parecon in view all the time, on the table, all the time, and not to have to fight even just for recognition. Parecon isn’t just a vision, it’s presents ideas to dealing with matters and problems that other visions do not. For that alone it should be constantly referred to not ignored and it really should not have to defend itself against accusations of infeasibility because such positions are, if one takes the ignorance argument seriously, arrogantly over-stretching. Parecon could even be of value to Nob Blacks ideas on work. But of course Nob has already poo pooed Parecon already, so for him it’s off the table.

Markets are bad. Even Yanis agrees. Schwieckart loves them. There’s a difference between Schwieckart and Yanis even though they are driving down the same road. Alec Nove said anything other than a centrally planned allocation system was not possible (ignorance argument in play). Albert and Hahnel have proved Nove wrong. There is a way. Is it THE WAY? Who knows? The ignorance argument applies. But we should be thankful Parecon is there and not damming it to the scrap heap on principle, or arrogance, or even gagging and suffocating from its institutional structure. That’s just emotive rubbish.


Fuck me, that whole post is very very good but I wanted just to highlight this part that I really liked. Lot of thoughts so this just as a quick reaction but I think you are exactly right about how alternatives to capitalism and participatory economy should be framed and discussed more.

Most recent contribution by Varoufakis on the Meta website: Envisioning a postcapitalism worth striving for: an ongoing debate between Michael Albert & Yanis Varoufakis - mέta

6. Five conditions for a democratic workplace

Yanis Varoufakis, 24 January 2022

Michael: To my question “Who decides if Harriet is allowed to choose her projects?”, you responded: “the workers’ council, of course”. To the question “Who decides what product or activity is socially useful?”, you replied: “the whole population together decides”. My gut reaction to your answers is a gut fear stemming from a natural dread I have of, as liberals and anarchists put it, the tyranny of the majority. Then again, democracy is only possible if the demos decides. The question is: Can democracy-at-work be made compatible with a degree of personal autonomy from what the majority thinks?

At this point in our discussion we need to set out concrete rules for the governance of enterprises. Here are five that I would like to propose:

i. Democratic planning

Competing enterprise plans are put forward by members, each accompanied by a full rationale. They include how many resources to commit to R&D, which product or technology to invest in, the level of remuneration etc. Members are given a long period to read up on each proposal, to debate them and to form preferences. They are then invited to rank the proposals in order of preference on an electronic ballot form. If no plan wins an absolute majority of first preferences, a process of successive elimination takes place (based on Australia’s ranked preference electoral system) to determine the winning Plan.

ii. Autonomy

Teams are formed (as per the Plan) by a democratic process that matches slots with applicants. No one is compelled to take a slot they do not want. Each retains the right to work, alone or in spontaneously formed teams, on any project she or he deems compatible with the Plan – without anyone’s permission.

iii. Remuneration

A basic salary is paid to all, whose level is decided democratically as part of (i) above. Additionally, the collective can set aside a sum for two types of bonuses: (A) Job-specific; i.e., the collective decides that an X% bonus is right, reflecting the job’s unpleasantness or high skills necessary. (B) Person-Specific; i.e., a reward for extraordinary services to the enterprise’s overall performance, atmosphere etc. For example, each member is given 100 brownie points to distribute amongst her colleagues across the enterprise. Then, the total Personal-Bonus kitty is divided in proportion to how many points a member has received from everyone else.

iv. The right to quit – and the right to a basic income

To be genuinely free and an authentic participant, a worker must have the right to walk away from a company if she feels the majority is stifling her. To render this right real, as opposed to theoretical, the worker must have an ‘outside option’. This is why an unconditional basic income (guaranteeing a life with dignity) for all is not an optional extra for the good society – but a fundamental obligation to its citizens

v. The right to fire – and the right to a basic income

At the same time, for the majority to be free from toxic individuals, the collective must have the right to fire (by democratic vote) a member abusing her autonomy – a right that the collective can only exercise if it knows that everyone has the right to a basic income guaranteeing a life with dignity.

Over to you.

Talk about talking past one another. Jeepers. That’s the sort of thing I expect from people like Sam Harris when people dare to disagree with him.

Firstly for fun.

“Competing enterprise plans are put forward by members, each accompanied by a full rationale.”

Oh my god a plan! And there’s a “full rationale” accompanying it. Like Parecon. A participatory planned economy with a full rationale behind it.

Secondly but mainly.

There’s a whole bunch of stuff in the above about democratically deciding stuff. But it all starts again with Yanis’s bloody gut. Now, maybe it’s because I’m Australiain, but I would prefer he not talk about his gut. He could have dysentery or his gut could be completely dysfunctional and just plain wrong. I mean, Michael’s whole post prior to this one kind of answers the two questions with which he starts this reply. Or am I an idiot. Maybe it doesn’t. Fuck. I just feel like I’m at friggin’ school or something watching the smart and sensible kids debating.

Yanis then seems to think there’s a need to outline very basically, his “model” for enterprise governance. Nice segue but he did that two replies before. Maybe it’s variations on a theme.

(I just went through this reply with a fine tooth comb and it just does my head in. This short piecemeal temporally disjointed approach feels completely useless to me. I’ve written a comment at ZNet under it because I’m sick of this crap)

Apparently the question is,

“Can democracy-at-work be made compatible with a degree of personal autonomy from what the majority thinks?”

And I thought he asked all this earlier (all the Harriet vs Tom and Dick stuff) and I thought Michael addressed it. But I suppose thats why he’s posting a short outline of his model (again). I also suppose that democracy-at-work is probably similar to democracy-not-at-work and that “what the majority thinks” can be made compatible with personal autonomy by using various decision making process deemed appropriate. I hope. Decision making processes deemed appropriate by further decision making processes also deemed appropriate for deciding on appropriate decision making processes. And on. Because what if the decision to use consensus was deemed appropriate to decide on x by a majority that subsequently ran rough shod over a small minority who felt consensus was not the way to go. That decision required consensus but a small minority felt a super majority vote was required.

But I suppose if democracy-at-work cannot be made compatible with a degree of personal autonomy from what the majority thinks then I suppose we’re doomed and Yanis’s gut will explode or he will die from asphyxiation. Michael seems to have a fairly clear idea of what self-management means, is or should be, in a work place which tells me at least that he, and Robin, have thought through in considerable detail the kinds of questions Yanis is asking or things Yanis’s gut seems so troubled by. While Yanis just uses the word democratic all the time or the phrase “democratic vote” or “decided democratically” or “by a democratic process”. How do I know any of the things Yanis is suggesting in the governance of a work place isn’t “the majority” impinging on an individual’s personal autonomy.

And just a by the by. I’m sure Yanis probably knows markets are far from anything democratic, and in fact are diametrically opposed to it (it being kind of undefined). Yet he decides they are a necessary evil in a way…(he decides?)(Well, not exactly sure yet, but I’m assuming he uses markets and Michael has stated before that Yanis thinks them shit, but necessary) …but seems otherwise disturbed in his gut about elements of Parecon, a system pretty much devised to maximise and foster the very things Yanis is concerned about, and knows the markets undermine, without undermining other shared values of concern to most of us folk. In other words, no impinging on others without good reason well deliberated upon. The collective and the individual, the individual and the collective.

But the truth is this “debate” is really annoying me. In fact most of them have. Because debates usually just end up squatting somewhere once they’re done, gathering dust in some out of way, now mainly digital, enclave. I mean, are Pareconistas really going to go across to the dark side after listening to Yanis and Michael duke it out? Is Yanis going to stop and say, you know what, I’m really convinced by Michael’s arguments so I am going to go in and bat for a Parecon from here on in? Is Michael really gonna say, ok, maybe I’ve been wrong about markets, remuneration, hierarchical and corporate divisions of labour, and what self-management is. Yanis has convinced me. Really?

But could Michael say something like…

Look, Yanis’s model has great merit compared to what we have now. If we make strategic efforts to move toward something like it the world could be much better off. No doubt. In fact, most market socialist models are of great value. And considering the fact we cannot rid ourselves of market allocation over night, something like what Yanis proposes may be a worthy destination that can also help connect the dots and inform more local, community and regional efforts for change already happening. Of this I have no doubt. But I also think that there are many elements within the Parecon model that could also be informative and even help shape and improve on Yanis’s model. I also think that having arrived at something like Yanis’s model, there is nothing that in some a priori or logical sense prohibits us from attempting to go further, say in regards to strategically moving toward eliminating markets, which, apparently Yanis also believes are inherently, well, gut wrenchingly bad.

And could Yanis say something like.

Look, after all is said and done market socialist models are nothing new, numerous, somewhat varied but also somewhat the same. They operate from a gut feeling a totally planned allocation system is just not possible. The truth of the matter is that Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel have shown this not to be the case. On top of that, they have also shown, quite strongly, that many of our usual accepted assumptions regarding economic institutions can be discarded or at least rethought. We can in fact change our approach to remuneration. We can in fact make attempts at ridding ourselves of hierarchical and corporate divisions of labour which Michael and Robin have shown clearly undermine decision making and self-management. I’m in awe of what they have done. Something no one else has done or even dared to do. But it is further clear to me that perhaps Parecon is something a little further away along the road to freedom. This does not mean at all that it cannot help in any way now. What it does do is suggest that perhaps models like my own aren’t the end, but more just a part of a just transition. I am looking forward to working more closely with Michael in trying to promote our shift from a capitalist economy to a far better one in the future or toward the best possible one we can come up with. Michael and I both agree our models are compatible with change along a shared strategic path. Parecon is a gem that must not be ignored. For too long this has been the case.

Then they both go on Russell Brands show together and a world speaking tour…but only if they are fully vaccinated and boosted. Or maybe they do it by Zoom. Even Oprah.

Then Meta, and DiEM25 merges with Real Utopia and this site whilst all sites maintaining a degree of autonomy. Meta and Real Utopia with this site as it’s door and forum for “the folk” to get involved, becoming the visionary arm of DiEM25. Then looking to bring the Next System Project and CommonsTransition on board…hopefully with anarchist and other Marxists possibly, with therecheads down and shoulders slumped, reluctantly dragging along up the rear. Particularly those who think something like Parecon is what we probably need. Because something like Parecon is already here…it’s called Parecon. And local, community economics, coops and anarchist type developments (Zapatistas and Rojava) are also already here. So just get moving. What’s stopping y’all.
Where’s the fucking debate.


But first…