last update: Nikos @ 15-08-2010

Barcelona, CNT centenary conference (April 10, 2010)

Inclusive Democracy as a political project for a new libertarian synthesis: rationale, proposed social structure and transition

printable version


Almost three quarters of a century after what I would characterize the greatest event in the history of libertarian socialism, the Spanish Revolution ―in which the CNT (the centenary of which we commemorate) played a crucial role―  the libertarian socialist movement in general and the anarchist movement in particular are in a state of a serious decay. This, despite the fact that capitalism faces an unprecedented crisis ―and I don’t simply mean the present financial crisis which has already developed into a serious recession― whereas statist socialism has already collapsed in both its historic forms of “actually existing socialism” and social democracy.[1] Concerning the anarchist movement in particular, in the post-war period, if we exclude the events of May 1968 (in which certain libertarian trends emerged that signalled the appearance of a new democratic movement that had nothing to do with what passes as “democracy” today) this movement has been fractionalised and marginalized, whereas, lately, significant parts of it are becoming postmodernist, if not straight reformist! All this, at the very moment when, for the first time in History after the split in the First International, the anarchist movement had a real chance to “take its revenge” and prevail over statist socialism. So, although the traditional antisystemic movements are still around, they have predominantly lost their antisystemic character and continue to exist either as explicitly reformist movements (most communist parties, many anarchist currents and all the “new movements”) or as supposedly antisystemic moments, which however do not raise any explicit antisystemic demands, adopting instead the familiar “popular front” practice of the Left around a program of reformist demands. In fact, the present effective dissolution of antisystemic movements could be explained not only in terms of changes in the systemic parameters in the post Second World War modernity (mainly changes in the class structure, as a result of the shift from statist to neoliberal modernity), but also in terms of a parallel ideological crisis, as a result of the related rise of postmodernism (and its dismissal of any kind of a universal political project) and of irrationalism.


Yet, the present multidimensional crisis continuously deteriorates and it is no wonder that, today, many people all over the world, for the first time after many years, raise crucial questions on things they used to take for granted within the bubble created by the growth economy and the consequent growth society (or consumer society). The first question asked is: why the present crisis? and if a satisfactory question is given to this question, the next logical question asked, following the previous one, is whether there could be an alternative form of society with which we can replace the present one. And, finally, the logical question following the previous two is how we move from here to there.


The need for a new antisystemic project


In fact, these three questions have constituted also, historically, the main elements of any antisystemic political project. By “political project,” I do not of course mean a project based on some supposedly “objective” economic or natural laws or tendencies (e.g. the Marxist project or the project of social ecology) nor do I mean, as it is currently fashionable, following the postmodern critique of “objectivist” political projects, some intellectual’s vision about the future society based on the moral values he or she more or less arbitrarily selects. What I mean by an antisystemic “political project” is a fully comprehensive political program, which, integrated into one of the historic traditions of the Left, derives ―on the basis of an axiomatic choice― a systematic analysis of past and present society and the trends within it, and then draws the organisational principles of the future society and the consequent conclusions on a strategy and tactics that will move us from here to there.


The Inclusive Democracy project is such a project, which attempts to give answers to all three of the above questions on the basis of the axiomatic choice of individual and collective autonomy. Thus, on the basis of this axiomatic choice of autonomy, vs. the alternative principle of heteronomy we can:

1) analyse the past and the present, as the outcome of the interaction between on the one hand “objective” factors, i.e. the dynamics of the prevailing institutions I mentioned before, which inevitably lead to further and further concentration of power at all levels, given that the trends that such dynamics create are fully supported by the ruling elites which benefit from such dynamics and, on the other, “subjective” factors, i.e. the outcome of the social struggle between the ruling elites/privileged social groups and the rest of society. So, on the basis of this sort of analysis, the ID project concludes that the ultimate cause of the present multidimensional crisis is the huge and continually growing concentration of economic, political and social power. Thus, it can be shown that the decisive element of the economic crisis consists in the fact that the system of the market economy is not inherently capable of creating an economically even world. This is the result of the fact that the concentration of economic power and the parallel growing inequality worldwide are not just consequences, but also preconditions for the reproduction of the market/growth economy, both from the economic and the ecological points of view. In other words, it is the dynamics of the market economy itself, in association with the role of the state in supporting this dynamics, which has led, first, to the historical concentration of economic power within each country and, then, to the present internationalised market economy, characterised by a gigantic concentration of economic power at world level, mostly in the hands of the Transnational Corporations, and a corresponding concentration of political and economic power in the hands of what I call the transnational elite.[2] Then, as regards the crisis in what passes as politics today it can be shown that the ultimate cause of it is the concentration of political power introduced, more or less at the same time as the capitalist market economy some two hundred years ago by the institutionalisation of representative “democracy,[3] which introduced the fundamental element of modernity: the formal separation of society from the economy and the state, which has been ever since the basis of modernity. As a result, people were made institutionally unable not just to control the product of their work as direct producers but, also, of directly exercising political power as citizens. Similarly, as regards the ecological crisis it can be shown[4] that there is a definite relationship between the development of the ecological crisis and the parallel emergence of the growth economy, which, in turn, has been determined by the dynamic of the market economy and, in particular, the concentration of income and wealth between and within countries, the consequent urban concentration, the car culture and so on. Finally, as regards the social crisis, the growth economy has already created a growth society, the main characteristics of which are consumerism, privacy, alienation and the subsequent disintegration of social ties.  The growth society, in turn, inexorably leads toward a “non-society,” that is, the substitution of atomised families and individuals for society ―a crucial step to barbarism.


2) outline a future society on the basis of existing trends in human History and the present. It can be shown that the entire human History has been marked by a constant struggle between, on the one hand, the heteronomy tradition which, for reasons we cannot expand on here, was the dominant one and, on the other the autonomy tradition. Out of this struggle, we had many forms of heteronomous societies (slave societies, feudal societies, monarchies, dictatorships, parliamentary “democracies” and the like), but also the sperms of autonomous societies, (the classical democracy of 5th century BC ―despite its obvious shortcomings― and the temporary forms of social organisation based on principles of autonomy that developed during periods of revolution or insurrection, e.g. the French and Russian revolutions, the Spanish civil war, May ’68 and so on). So, what we call an Inclusive Democracy, i.e. a society based on institutions that secure the equal distribution of all forms of power among all citizens, that is, on the abolition of power relations and structures, is not only desirable on the basis of what I said before about the causes of the present multidimensional crisis, but feasible as well, as it is not just a utopia or an intellectual’s vision but the form of social organisation which institutionalises the historical trends I mentioned. An Inclusive Democracy has four main components: a Political or Direct Democracy, i.e. the direct control of the political process by citizens; an Economic Democracy, i.e. the ownership and direct control of economic resources by the citizen body; a Democracy in the Social Realm, or the self-management of workplaces, educational institutions and any other institutions belonging to the social realm by workers, farmers, students and so on; and finally an Ecological democracy, i.e the reintegration of society to Nature.


3) Describe a transitional strategy that will move us from here to there.

The aim of my talk today, after the brief introduction on the causes of the multidimensional crisis, will be to concentrate on outlining a future society which is desirable not only because it fully meets the criteria of individual and collective autonomy, according to the axiomatic choice of this historical tradition, but also because it provides the only way out of the present crisis compatible with the principle and autonomy. And it is feasible not only because it is not just an intellectual’s vision but it is based on historical and present trends which manifested themselves in almost every historical moment that this tradition was in the limelight but also because the arrangements it proposes are perfectly feasible as we shall see. Finally, if time permits, or perhaps during the discussion to follow we can discuss questions related to the transitional strategy.


Inclusive Democracy as a political project for a new libertarian synthesis


The ID project, on the basis of the axiomatic choice for autonomy I mentioned before, attempts a new libertarian synthesis, which is founded on the lessons we have been taught from the historical experience of the failed revolutions and insurrections of the past 150 years or so. In fact, it is a synthesis of the two historic traditions within the broad libertarian (or autonomy) tradition I mentioned above, i.e. the classical democratic tradition and libertarian socialism, as well as of the antisystemic currents within the “new” social movements that emerged since May ’68, (women’s liberation movement, Green movement and so on).


A fruitful way to define Inclusive Democracy may be to distinguish between the two main societal realms, the public and the private, to which we may add an “ecological realm,” defined as the sphere of the relations between the natural and the social worlds. In this conception, the public realm, contrary to the practice of many supporters of the republican or democratic project (Hannah Arendt, Cornelius Castoriadis, Murray Bookchin et al) includes not just the political realm, but also the economic realm, as well as the “social” realm; in other words, any area of human activity in which decisions can be taken collectively and democratically. The political realm is defined as the sphere of political decision taking, the area in which political power is exercised. The economic realm is defined as the sphere of economic decision taking, the area in which economic power is exercised with respect to the broad economic choices that any scarcity society has to make. Finally, the social realm is defined as the sphere of decision taking in the workplace, the place of education and any other economic or cultural institution which is a constituent element of a democratic society.


It is therefore obvious that the extension of the traditional public realm to include the economic, ecological and “social” realms is an indispensable element of an Inclusive Democracy. Correspondingly, we may distinguish between four main constituent elements of an Inclusive Democracy: political or direct democracy, economic democracy, “democracy in the social realm” and ecological democracy. The first three elements constitute the institutional framework, which aims at the equal distribution of political, economic and social power respectively; in other words, the system, which aims at the effective elimination of the domination of human being over human being. Similarly, ecological democracy is defined as the institutional framework, which aims at the elimination of any human attempt to dominate the natural world, in other words, the system, which aims to reintegrate humans with nature. In this sense, Inclusive Democracy is a new conception of democracy, which, using as a starting point its classical definition, aims at a form of social organisation which re-integrates society with polity, economy and nature.


Political (or Direct) Democracy as a component of ID


In the political realm, there can only be one form of democracy, what we may call political or direct democracy, where political power is shared equally among all citizens. So, political democracy is founded on the equal sharing of political power among all citizens, the self-instituting of society. However, as the direct democratic control of the economy and society is only possible today in a highly decentralised society, (which, initially does not have to be physically decentralised but only administratively so) it is obvious that self-reliance is a necessary condition for political and economic autonomy. Self-reliance is meant here in terms of autonomy, rather than in terms of self-sufficiency, which, under today's conditions, is neither feasible nor desirable. Thus, although self-reliance implies maximal utilisation of local resources and sources of energy, it should not be confused with autarchy and should always be seen within the context of confederalism. Therefore, an Inclusive Democracy today can only take the form of a confederal democracy that is based on a network of administrative assemblies (regional and confederal), whose members or delegates are elected by popular face-to-face democratic assemblies in each demos, i.e. the citizen body of an area which may encompass a town and the surrounding villages, or even a neighbourhood of a large city. The members of these administrative assemblies (regional assemblies, confederal assembly) are strictly mandated, recallable, and responsible to the assemblies that choose them in each demos , what we may call the demotic assemblies. The sole function of regional and confederal assemblies is that of co-ordinating and administering the policies formulated by the demotic assemblies themselves, in other words, their function is purely administrative and practical, not a policy-making, or a deliberative one. In addition to the demotic assemblies, which are the basic unit of decision taking in the confederation, where people, as citizens, take all important political and economic decisions at the local level, there are also workplace assemblies, where citizens, as workers, farmers, teachers etc take all the decisions to run the corresponding workplaces. As such, workplace assemblies, together with demotic assemblies, constitute the core of an Inclusive Democracy.


On the basis of the above general principles, we may define the two basic conditions which have to be met for a society to be characterised as a political democracy.

  • the ultimate policy-making institution in each self-reliant demos is the demotic assembly, namely, the assembly of the demos. We are talking about the demos and not the state, because the existence of a state means the separation of the citizen body from the political and economic process. All residents of a particular geographical area and of a viable population size (e.g. 30-50,000), beyond a certain age of maturity and irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or cultural identity, are members of the demos and are directly involved in the decision-taking process. This implies that all political decisions, including those relating to the formation and execution of laws, are taken by the citizen body collectively and without representation (not necessarily of course meeting in a single place, as modern technology allows a demotic assembly meeting at several places simultaneously to constitute a single assembly, if so required). The demotic assembly delegates power to demotic courts, militias and other executive, who are always recallable by the citizen body. It is important to be stressed, as regards delegates to regional and confederal assemblies, that the mandates in an ID are specific. This differentiates it completely from forms of “democracy” (like Participatory Politics ― Parpolity)[5] where delegates to higher level councils are not bound to vote as the sending council might wish –an arrangement which would inevitably lead to a situation where the members of each higher level council concentrate a higher degree of power than those at lower level councils, culminating in the highest level of council, which, to all intents and purposes, would play the role of a kind of Central Committee on legislation!

  • the demoi are co-ordinated through regional assemblies at the regional level and a confederal assembly at the confederal level. For example, 1,500 delegates (15 delegates per demotic assembly of 30,000 citizens) could constitute a regional assembly for 3m citizens, whereas 1,800 delegates (6 delegates per demotic assembly) could constitute the confederal assembly for a confederation of 9m citizens. These assemblies consist of mandated, recallable and (possibly) rotating delegates. Such assemblies are necessary because many issues have to be dealt with at the regional/national/supra-national level. Examples are problems generated by the unequal distribution of energy supplies, natural resources and the consequent unequal distribution of income between the confederated demoi; problems generated by the free mobility of labour between demoi or by the exchange of goods and services between citizens of different demoi or between the confederated demoi themselves; problems created by the supra-local character of the environmental implications of production and consumption; problems of transportation/ communication; problems of technology transfer etc.

Economic Democracy as a component of ID


Coming now to the economic democracy component of an Inclusive Democracy, if we define political democracy as the authority of the citizen’s body, the demos, in the political sphere, then, economic democracy could be correspondingly defined as the authority of demos in the economic sphere —which implies the existence of economic equality in the sense of equal distribution of economic power. Economic democracy, therefore, relates to every social system that institutionalises the integration of society with economy. This means that, ultimately, the demos controls the economic process, within an institutional framework of demotic ownership of the means of production. This, in turn, implies that the proposal I am going to describe briefly,[6] explicitly, presupposes a stateless, moneyless and marketless economy that precludes private accumulation of wealth and the institutionalisation of privileges for some sections of society ―without having to rely on a mythical post-scarcity state of abundance, or having to sacrifice freedom of choice. Furthermore, neither direct democracy, nor economic democracy are feasible in a highly centralised society and economy like the present one. An Inclusive Democracy is only feasible at the level of a confederation of demoi. This differentiates it from planning models, which are inevitably based on centralised systems where individual freedom of choice is non-existent. Inevitably, because exclusive reliance for the allocation of resources on planning combined with the non-differentation between basic and non-basic needs (which is a crucial differentiation we make in the ID project), ends up with a system where each citizen’s consumption, production and workload has, ultimately, to conform to some sort of “average”.


This definition of economic democracy has obviously very little to do with the usual definitions of economic democracy, which institutionalise the minimisation of socio-economic differences, particularly those arising out of the unequal distribution of private property and the consequent unequal distribution of income and wealth. Historically, there has never been an institutionalised economic democracy in the broad sense defined above. In other words, even when socialist attempts to reduce the degree of inequality in the distribution of income and wealth were successful, they were never associated with meaningful attempts to establish a system of equal distribution of economic power. This is the case, despite the fact that, in the type of society that has emerged since the rise of the market economy, there has been a definite shift of the economy from the private realm into the “social realm, to which the nation-state also belongs. But, it is this shift that makes any talk about democracy, which does not also refer to the question of economic power, ring hollow. In other words, to talk today about the equal sharing of political power, direct democracy etc, without conditioning it on the equal sharing of economic power, is meaningless, if not deliberately disorienting!


So, in accordance with the definition of political democracy, the following conditions have to be satisfied for a society to be characterised as an economic democracy:

  • No institutionalised economic processes of an oligarchic nature. This means that all “macro” economic decisions, namely, decisions concerning the running of the economy as a whole (overall level of production, consumption and investment, amounts of work and leisure implied, technologies to be used, etc.) are taken by the citizen body collectively and without representation, and implemented through a democratic planning process, although “micro” economic decisions at the workplace or household levels are taken respectively by the demotic enterprises and by individual consumers (through a system of personal vouchers, or a credit card scheme ―but with no money involved which is banished from this scheme), and

  • No institutionalised economic structures embodying unequal economic power relations. Any inequality of income is, therefore, the result of additional voluntary work at the individual level. Such additional work, beyond that required by any capable member of society for the satisfaction of basic needs, allows only for additional consumption, as no individual accumulation of capital is possible, and any wealth accumulated as a result of additional work is not inherited. Thus, demotic ownership of productive resources provides the economic structure for democratic ownership, whereas direct citizen participation in economic decisions provides the framework for a comprehensively democratic control process of the economy. The demos, therefore, becomes the authentic unit of economic life, since economic democracy is not feasible today unless both the ownership and control of productive resources are organised at the local level. So, unlike the other definitions of economic democracy, the definition given here involves the explicit negation of economic power relations and implies the authority of the demos in the economic sphere. In this sense, economic democracy is the counterpart, as well as the foundation, of direct democracy and of an Inclusive Democracy in general.

However, given today’s high degree of concentration of economic power and international interdependence, it is difficult even to imagine a radically different form of society based on economic democracy. Is such a society feasible today? What should be the system of allocation of resources that would be compatible with economic democracy? Of course, theory can only explore possibilities, and it is up to social “praxis” to give concrete content to the new form of social organisation. In what follows an attempt is made to put forward a new vision of economic democracy, as well as some concrete proposals about how such a democratic model of the economy could function. The aim is to outline the conditions under which an Inclusive Democracy could work, although of course it is up to the citizens’ assemblies of the future to design the form an Inclusive Democracy will take.


The type of economic democracy proposed here explicitly assumes the diversity of individuals (which, in turn, implies that consensus is very much the exception rather than the rule) and institutionalises this diversity through the adoption of a combination of democratic planning procedures on the one hand and voucher schemes or credit cards within an artificial “market” on the other. The aim is to secure an allocation of resources that ensures both freedom of individual choice (as regards the satisfiers) and the satisfaction of basic needs of all citizens on the basis of the communist principle “from each according to ability to each according to need”. Furthermore, the proposed economic democracy assumes away the mythical stage of free communism and addresses the issue of how, within the context of a scarcity society, (i.e. a society where resources are still scarce with respect to needs), a method of resource allocation might be found which ensures that the above aim is achievable. From this viewpoint, it is not accidental that some modern libertarians who support the “politics of individualism” find it necessary, in order to attack democracy, to resort, on the one hand, to the myth of free communism and, on the other, to the distortion that democracy involves a kind of “rule,” in the form of majority rule. The intention is clear: the former makes economic democracy superfluous, whereas the latter makes direct democracy undesirable.[7]


So, there are three preconditions that have to be met for economic democracy to be feasible:

1) demotic self-reliance, i.e. a demos-centred self-reliance

2) demotic ownership of productive resources, which implies that the means of production and distribution are collectively owned and controlled by the demos, i.e. the citizen body directly, and,

3) confederal allocation of resources.

As regards self-reliance, it is not only the demand for autonomy that necessitates self-reliance, as we saw above, so that control over one's own affairs can be restored. Self-reliance becomes also necessary by the fact that the historical trend away from self-reliance, which has reached its peak in the present era of globalisation, has had important adverse implications at the macro-economic, the cultural, the social and the environmental levels. At the macro-economic level, billions of people all over the world have been condemned by the market forces (that ultimately control their fate once they have moved away from self-reliance) to unemployment, poverty and even starvation. At the cultural level, the shift away from self-reliance has led to the dismantling of the social ties and values that unite communities, or even of whole cultures. The market values of competitiveness and individualism have replaced the community values of solidarity and co-operation, transforming human beings into passive citizens; in fact, just consumers. At the environmental level, the trend away from self-reliance has led to the irrationality of a system that has to rely, for its everyday functioning, on the transport of goods and people over huge distances, with all the implications on the environment that this massive movement implies. Thus, self-reliant demoi constitute today the only way to reverse the process of overproduction and overconsumption, which is the main effect of the “growth economy,” as well as the main cause of the ecological threat.


The radical decentralisation involved in this process implies, in fact, the reversal of the type of development that has, historically, identified Progress with economic growth and efficiency. Actually, a form of decentralisation is already in progress, as part of the internationalisation of the market economy, but this is only physical, not economic decentralisation, as economic power remains at the metropolitan centres. The very dynamics of the neoliberal phase, which is a process of liberating markets from the “constraints” imposed by the state in the statist phase of marketization, led to further concentration of economic power at the metropolitan centres, which simply transfer part of the production process to the low cost “paradises” of the East (China,[8] India etc). On the other hand, a self-reliant decentralisation can only be founded on the horizontal interdependence of economically self-reliant communities (demoi). The economic relations between the confederated demoi should therefore be structured in a way to enhance mutual self-reliance, in the context of collective support, rather than domination and dependency, as today. This could only be achieved within the framework of a confederal democratic planning process.


Similarly, as regards the demotic ownership it is obvious, at the outset, that economic democracy requires another type of social ownership, which secures a democratic ownership and control of productive resources, and that neither private ownership nor a socialist system of ownership can secure both.


Thus, private ownership of productive resources, irrespective of whether it is combined with a market system or not, implies control of resources to serve particular interests (of capitalists, shareholders, managers and/or employees) rather than the general interest.


The socialist system of ownership implies a “social ownership” of the means of production, which can exist within either the market or the planning system. Historically, it has taken two main forms, i.e. nationalised enterprises and collectivised self-managed enterprises. In nationalised enterprises, a real divorce between ownership and control is introduced. Thus, whereas formal ownership belongs to society at large, effective control of production is left to either technocratic elites (in a market economy system) or to bureaucratic elites (in a planned system) that take all the important economic decisions.


In collectivised self-managed enterprises, the ownership belongs, wholly or partially, to the workers/employees of the enterprise. The main problem with such self-managed enterprises is that the more independent of each other and of society at large they are, the more they tend to satisfy the particular interests of their employees, as against the general interest of citizens in the demos. Also, to survive in a competitive world, they usually have to use the same production methods as those of capitalist firms (methods which may be alienating for the workers/employees, damaging to the environment, labour saving, etc). Furthermore, collectivised self-managed enterprises tend to compete with each other for productive resources (natural, labour, etc.) in a way very similar to the competition among capitalist firms. Finally, such forms of self-management cannot secure the autonomy of the worker as citizen. Thus, although some forms of it, supported by syndicalists and parts of the green movement, may promote democratic procedures within the enterprise, they do nothing to promote democracy in general, for the community as a whole. So, these forms of self-management, as Bookchin observed, usually represent “exploitative production with the complicity of the workers”[9] since they cannot guarantee freedom from the tyranny of the factory and rationalised labour.


It is, therefore, obvious that economic democracy requires another type of social ownership, which secures a democratic ownership and control of productive resources and that the only form of ownership that can guarantee this is demotic ownership. This type of ownership leads to the politicisation of the economy ―the real synthesis of economy and polity. Furthermore, this framework, by definition, excludes any divorce of ownership from control and secures the pursuit of the general interest. This is so because economic decision-making is carried out by the entire demos, through the demotic assemblies, where people take the fundamental macro-economic decisions which affect all the demos, as citizens, rather than as vocationally oriented groups (workers, technicians, engineers, farmers etc.). At the same time, people at the workplace, apart from participating in the demotic decisions as citizens determining the overall planning targets, they would also participate as workers (in the above broad sense of vocationally oriented groups) in their respective workplace assemblies, in a process of modifying/implementing the Democratic Plan and in running their own workplace. Therefore, the democratic planning process would be a process of continuous feedback information from demotic assemblies to workplace assemblies and back again.


Confederal allocation of resources


As regards the final precondition of economic democracy, i.e. the confederal allocation of resources, this refers to the problem of the mechanism that would secure a fair and efficient allocation of resources both within the demos and between demoi, so that the citizens’ needs are met. The general criterion for the allocation of resources is not efficiency, as is currently defined by orthodox economics and adopted also by Parecon[10] (“as a useful definition of social efficiency”[11]) ―in terms of the Paretian optimality conditions. In accordance with libertarian tradition, I would argue instead that our starting point should be human needs, which should govern production, and not the other way round. Therefore, efficiency should be redefined to mean effectiveness in satisfying human needs and not just money-backed wants, as today, or meeting some technocratic criteria in terms of social opportunity costs, like the optimality conditions mentioned above, which may be in conflict with considerations of autonomy or self-management, ecological considerations and so on.


The dominant characteristic of the proposed confederal planning, which differentiates it from similar models of centralised or decentralised Planning, is that, although it does not depend on the prior abolition of scarcity, it does secure the satisfaction of the basic needs of all citizens, as well as freedom of choice. The former requires the basic macro-economic decisions to be taken democratically by the citizen body, whereas the latter requires the citizens to take, individually, important decisions affecting their own lives (what work to do, what to consume etc). 


So, the allocation of economic resources is envisaged as being implemented through a combination of:

1) a democratic planning mechanism, which aims at meeting the basic needs of all citizens and is based on the citizens’ collective decisions, as expressed through the demotic and confederal plans that involve the creation of a feedback process between workplace assemblies, demotic assemblies and the confederal assembly, and,

2) An artificial “market,” which aims at securing freedom of choice and is based on the citizens’ individual choices, as expressed through a voucher (or a demotic credit card) system that secures a genuine freedom of choice, without incurring the adverse effects associated with real markets.

Τhe main assumptions on which this type of allocation is based are as follows:

  • all production in an Inclusive Democracy takes place in demotic enterprises, i.e. enterprises which are owned by the demos and leased to citizens on a contract basis. The overall running of demotic enterprises is carried out by workplace assemblies, which function both as institutions of “democracy in the social realm” and as fundamental components of economic democracy, given their role in the process of democratic planning. The day-to day running of demotic enterprises could be carried out by a supervisory board appointed by the workplace assembly, which could include personnel with specialist knowledge, and with its members being constantly recallable by the workplace assembly, apart from being indirectly controlled by the citizens' assemblies.

  • productive resources are owned by the demos and are leased free to the employees of each production unit (the demotic enterprise) on a contract basis;

  • the aim of production is not growth per se but the satisfaction of the basic needs of the demos and those non-basic needs for which members of the demos express a desire, and are willing to work extra for their satisfaction.

As far as the meaning of needs is concerned, a distinction is introduced between basic and non-basic needs and a similar one between needs and “satisfiers” (the form or the means by which these needs are satisfied). What constitutes a basic need, as well as the level of basic need-satisfaction, is determined collectively and implemented through a democratic planning mechanism. On the other hand, citizens determine individually the satisfiers for both basic and non-basic needs, as well as what non-basic needs (if any) they wish to satisfy.


The differentiation between basic and non-basic needs is crucial, as it implies a corresponding division of the economy between a basic needs sector and a non-basic needs sector. This distinction is necessary because each sector is assumed to function on a different principle. The “basic needs” sector functions on the basis of the communist principle “from each according to ability to each according to need, whereas the “non-basic needs” sector is assumed to function on the basis of an artificial “market” that balances demand and supply, in a way that secures the sovereignty of both consumers and producers and establishes remuneration according to effort. However, drawing a line between basic and non-basic goods and services is important not only because it makes clear that meeting basic needs is a fundamental human right that cannot be denied to anybody, as long as one offers the minimal amount of work required for this, (unlike Parecon where the satisfaction of such needs is left to a few goods declared public and to compassion[12]) but also because it minimises the number of hours each citizen has to work to cover his/her basic needs, which in today’s state of technology should be a few hours per week.


A. The Basic Needs Sector


Every member of the confederation, who is able to work, will have to work a “basic” (or minimum) number of hours per week, in a line of activity of his/her choice, to produce the resources needed for the satisfaction of the basic needs of the confederation ―as they have been estimated by the confederal assembly and formulated in the confederal plan. Each citizen is issued a number of BVs (or BCCs points) according to the special “category of need” s/he belongs. Thus, the confederal assembly will determine a list of categories of basic needs for each section of the population using multiple criteria, including sex, age, special needs etc. Then, in cases where this “objective” allocation of BVs (or BCCs points) has to be amended to take into account personal circumstances, the demotic assemblies could make appropriate adjustments. The BVs/BCCs are personal and issued by the confederal assembly rather than by the demotic assemblies to ensure consistency as regards basic needs satisfaction throughout the confederation. So, in case a demos’ resources are inadequate to cover the basic needs of all citizens, the extra resources needed should be provided by the confederal assembly. A significant by-product of this arrangement is that a redistribution of income will be effected between demoi rich in resources and poor ones.


As regards caring for the needs of the elderly, children and disabled, those unable to work are entitled to BVs (or BCCs points), in exactly the same way as every other citizen in the confederation do. In fact, one might say that the BVs/BCCs scheme represents the most comprehensive “social security” system that has ever existed, as it will cover all the basic needs of those unable to work, according to the definition of basic needs given by the confederal assembly. It is also up to the same assembly to decide whether, on top of these BVs/BCCs points, Non Basic Vouchers or Non Basic Credit Cards points will also be allocated. As far as the supply of caring services is concerned, If caring is classified as a basic need, as, of course, it should, then every member of the demos should be involved in the provision of such services (and would be entitled to BVs/BCCs points) ―a significant step in the direction of establishing democracy in the household.


The basic needs sector allocates resources mainly on the basis of the democratic planning process, although there is a significant element of individual choice involved as well, concerning the satisfiers. As regards the planning process in this sector, it can be described in terms of the following stages.


Stage 1: The delegates to the confederal assembly meet annually to determine (perhaps with exceptional majorities) which needs should be characterised as basic and at which average level of satisfaction for each citizen, on the basis of the strict mandates of the demotic assemblies that elected them.


Stage 2: Planners, on the basis of demand and supply conditions draw various drafts of confederal plans which have specific implications for the production tasks of each demos. Thus, as far as demand is concerned, planners could estimate its size and mix, on the basis of the size of the confederation’s population, the size of the “basic needs” entitlement for each citizen and the “revealed preferences” of consumers concerning satisfiers, as expressed by the number of vouchers (or BCCs points) used in the past for each type of satisfier. As far as supply is concerned, its size could be estimated on the basis of the amounts of natural and man-made resources (machines, tools etc) available to the confederation ―for a sustainable production process―  and various technological averages. At this stage, planners would estimate also the new capital equipment and intermediate goods required, taking into account depreciation, the new technological methods available etc. On the basis of such calculations, they can estimate the production level, the mix and the labour resources needed (up to the amount of work that each citizen has to do), so that the needs which have been classified by the confederal assembly as basic could be met, at the desired level of satisfaction. On the basis of these estimates and the various possibilities of combining the various productive resources and technologies, several draft versions of the confederal plan are drawn.


Stage 3: The implications of the various drafts are discussed by each demotic assembly, which then selects the preferred draft. On the basis of the (electronic) votes of the demotic assemblies, the final plan is selected and the implied overall amount of resources needed for its implementation is determined.


Stage 4: Once the confederal Inclusive Democracy has adopted a plan about the level of basic needs satisfaction and the overall allocation of resources, the demotic assemblies determine the types of work that are implied by the plan, so that all basic needs of the demos are met. Then, it is up to each individual citizen to select the task s/he prefers to do, according to his/her capabilities and desires, and offer his/her services to the demotic enterprise s/he selects.


Stage 5: The workplace assembly (i.e. the general assembly of the demotic enterprise) determines the specific for the enterprise work plan and allocates the tasks to the members of the enterprise.


Finally, as far as the freedom of choice is concerned, as it was mentioned above, BVs/BCCs entitle each citizen to a given level of satisfaction for each particular type of need, (which has been characterised democratically as “basic”), but do not specify the particular type of satisfier. Thus, an artificial “market” for basic goods and services is needed, which would meet the demand for basic goods and services according to specifier. As citizens can spend their BVs or BCCs points on any demotic enterprise of their choice (food, clothing enterprises etc) and these enterprises are free to produce the relevant goods and services the way they see fit ―as long, of course, as they meet the production and environmental standards adopted by the confederal plan― citizens are offered a significant amount of choice in deciding how best they wish to meet their basic needs within their overall entitlement. The “specific” preferences of citizens are verified through their revealed preferences, as expressed by the use of BVs/BCCs with respect to specific demotic enterprises. At the same time, as the workers in such enterprises could, if they so wish, work additional hours, on top of the basic hours, in the same (or other) line of activity, they would have every incentive to attract as many BVs or BCCs points to their own enterprise. This would imply that demotic enterprises, through this artificial market, would be involved in a process of meeting, as best as possible and in a spirit of emulation, the citizens’ desires ―something that would have nothing to do with the present cut-throat market competition.


B. The Non-Basic Needs Sector


It is perfectly possible however that some citizens may wish to offer additional work, on top of the minimum basic hours, in any kind of work activity of their choice, including the basic work activity they have chosen. In that case, it should be fair that they will be entitled also to Non-basic vouchers (NBVs) (or to a Non-Basic Credit Card-NBCC) which can be used for the satisfaction of needs that are not classified as “basic” by the confederal assembly (non-essential consumption), as well as for the satisfaction of basic needs beyond the level prescribed by the confederal assembly.


NBVs/NBCCs are also personal, but are issued on behalf of each demos, rather than on behalf of the confederation. However, the system should be organised in such a way so that differences among demoi as regards non-essential consumption should reflect only differences in the amount of work involved and not differences in natural endowments. Therefore, although demotic covering of non-basic needs is just an extension of the individual citizen’s freedom of choice, provision should be taken so that the benefits from the natural endowments of the confederation as a whole, irrespective of their geographical location, are distributed equally among all demoi and regions. This principle applies to both basic and non-basic needs satisfaction, so that no regional inequities may be created, other than those due to the amount of work involved. With technical progress, one could expect that the satisfaction of non-essential needs will become increasingly important in the future ―a fact confirmed by statistical studies on consumption patterns in the West that show a verifiable trend of basic-needs saturation[13]. Correspondingly, remuneration will take more and more the form of NBVs/NBCCs.


There is a double economic problem with respect to NBVs. First, we need a fair measure to remunerate non-basic (NB) work and, second, we need a measure of valuing non-basic goods/services (“prices”) that will secure a balance between their supply and demand at the level of demos. Obviously, the way both the rate of remuneration (i.e. the rate which determines the number of non-basic vouchers a citizen receives for NB work) and the “prices” of NB goods & services is determined depends on the way resources are allocated in the non-basic sector. I would propose that, in contrast to the basic needs sector, the allocation of resources in this sector should take place neither through a real market where work is allocated on the basis of profit considerations, nor, alternatively, on the basis of the instructions of planners, founded of the decisions of party bureaucrats ―as in central planning― or, alternatively, founded on democratic decisions— as in the various forms of socialist planning. Instead, I would propose that the allocation of resources, particularly labour, would take place mainly through an artificial “market,” on the basis of the preferences of citizens as producers and as consumers. As regards their preferences as producers, It is obvious that given the inequality of the various types of work, equality of remuneration will in fact mean unequal work satisfaction. Instead, I would propose that citizens, as producers, would select the work they wish to do and their desires would be reflected in the “index of desirability,” which I’ll describe next, that would partly determine their rate of remuneration. Also, citizens, as consumers, through their use of NBVs or NBCCs would influence directly the “prices” of non-basic goods and services and, indirectly, the allocation of labour resources in each line of activity through the effect of “prices” on the rate of remuneration.


But, the crucial issue is how citizens’ desires on the various kinds of jobs available can be expressed? Parecon’s “job complexes” proposal, where the work tasks are organised “so that every individual would be regularly involved in both conception and execution tasks , with comparable empowerment and quality of life circumstances for all”[14] does not solve the problem of desirability, (let alone the problem of empowerment, as I tried to show elsewhere[15]) but simply attempts to by-pass it by bundling together tasks of unequal desirability. However, apart from the practical issues involved, which cast serious doubt on the very possibility of job complexes being implemented widely beyond the confines of certain tasks easily amenable for bundling, the crucial question arises about the range of bundling of tasks which is feasible in cases of very diverse tasks, associated with highly different degrees of desirability (e.g. those associated with the mining sector and those associated with surgery or dancing, painting, composing, writing etc). Obviously, very few, if any, artists, dancers, surgeons etc would be willing and able to undertake job complexes involving mining, building, road construction etc ―quite apart from the social waste involved, even if this was possible. On the other hand, if the bundling of tasks is only feasible with respect to similar activities, then how the job complexes involving “heavy” or boring work (mining, building, road construction etc) would attract the number of people needed, particularly as the rate of remuneration is the same for everybody offering the average amount of work? Furthermore, although it is true that the division between manual and conceptual work is significant in creating hierarchical divisions, it will be simplistic to assume that this is the only cause of them. The ultimate cause of hierarchical divisions is, to my mind, the unequal distribution of institutionalised power among citizens. Therefore, it is much more important to secure that each type of work task undertaken reflects the real desires of each citizen, in a framework which does not institutionalise the unequal distribution of power in the workplace (through e.g. the control of information by people doing specific tasks) rather than to combine the work tasks themselves, even if this is socially wasteful.


An alternative way in which the real desires for work of each citizen might be possible to be expressed is to use a kind of “inter-subjective” measure, like the one suggested by Baldelli[16], an anarchist writer of the last century, i.e., to use a “criterion of desirability” for each kind of activity. However, desirability cannot be simply assessed, as Baldelli suggests, by the number of individuals declaring their willingness to undertake each kind of work. Given the present state of technology, even if we assume that in a future society most of today's hyper specialisation will disappear, many jobs will still require specialised knowledge or training. Therefore, a complex `index of desirability' should be constructed with the use of multiple rankings of the various types of work, based on the “revealed” preferences of citizens in choosing the various types of activity. The remuneration for each type of work could then be determined as an inverse function of its index of desirability, i.e., the higher the index (that is, the more desirable a type of work is) the lower its rate of remuneration, so that e.g. miners get the highest rate of remuneration, whereas artists, writers, planners etc the lowest ―assuming these are the expressed desirabilities and not forgetting that this is on top of the BVs everybody gets to meet the basic needs. However, the index of desirability cannot be the sole determinant of the rate of remuneration. The wishes of citizens as consumers, as expressed by the “prices” of non-basic goods and services should also be taken into account. This would also have the important effect of linking the set of “prices” for goods and services with that of remuneration for the various types of work, so that the allocation of work in the non-basic sector may be effected in a way that secures balance between demand and supply. We could therefore imagine that half the rate of remuneration in the production of non-basic goods and services is determined by the index of desirability and the other half is determined by the “prices” of goods and services. Of course, given that labour is only part of the total resources needed for the production of non-basic goods and services and that the non-basics sector is the responsibility of each demos, in practice, problems of scarcity of various ―other than labour―  resources may be created. However, I think that such problems could easily be sorted out through a system of exchanges between demoi .


As regards now the measure of valuation of non-basic goods/services that will secure a balance between their supply and demand at the demotic level, clearly, we need a system of “prices” for non basic goods and services that will aim to achieve a balance between demand and supply, which satisfies the criteria of fairness. As our overall criterion is not growth or efficiency, but needs satisfaction, we may introduce a kind of “rationing values' for the evaluation of non-basic goods/services. Thus, in contrast to the market mechanism which, as it is well known, represents rationing by price, (something that, as we have seen, represents the most unfair way of rationing scarce resources, as, in effect, it means rationing by the wallet) we may introduce pricing by rationing. Prices, instead of being the cause of rationing ―as in the market system―  become the effect of it. Therefore, whereas in the market system prices basically reflect scarcities relative to a skewed income and wealth pattern and they function as rationing devices to match the former with the latter, in the proposed system prices reflect scarcities relative to citizens’ desires and they function as guides for a democratic allocation of resources. This way, production reflects real demand, and citizens do not have to suffer all the irrationalities of the market economy or of the socialist central planning system I mentioned above. Therefore, the artificial “market” proposed here offers the framework needed so that planning can start from actual demand and supply conditions (reflecting real preferences of consumers and producers) and not from abstract notions formed by bureaucrats and technocrats about what the society's needs are. Furthermore, this system offers the opportunity to avoid both the despotism of the market that “rationing by the wallet” implies, as well as the despotism of planning that imposes a specific rationing (even if this is done through majority vote within a democratic planning process).


Thus, to calculate the “rationing value” (and consequently the price, expressed in terms of a number of non-basic vouchers) of a particular good/service, planners could divide the total of NBVs (or credit points) that were used over a period of time (say, a year) to “buy” a specific good or service over the total output of that particular good/service in the same time period. If, for instance, the confederal assembly has ruled that a mobile phone is not a basic good, then the “price” of a mobile can be found by dividing the number of NBVs used over the past 12 months for the “purchase” of mobiles (say 100,000) over the total number of mobiles produced in the same period (say 1,000) giving us a “price” per mobile of 100 NBVs. The problem that may arise in this system is that there may be a mismatch between demand and supply of particular non-basic goods and services. Thus, to continue with the example of mobiles, the producers of mobiles and of their components may wish to offer only a limited number of hours over their “basic” number of hours of work. In fact, the problem may arise even if some of them are unwilling to offer extra work, given that their activity, along with many other activities in today’s societies, are done in the form of team work. In that case, the proposed adjustment mechanism of artificial “prices” will be set in motion. The “price” of mobiles, expressed in NBVs, will rise pushing the demand for mobiles down and the rate of remuneration correspondingly up, attracting more work in this activity. Of course, labour constitutes only part of the resources used and the overall availability of other resources has to be determined at regular intervals by the demotic assembly. This way, production reflects real demand, and demoi do not have to suffer all the irrationalities of the market economy or of the socialist central planning systems I mentioned above.


Finally, although it is true that the effect of the proposed system on the distribution of income will be that a certain amount of inequality will inevitably follow the division between basic and non-basic work, this inequality will be quantitatively and qualitatively very different from today's inequality. Quantitatively, because it will be minimal in scale, in comparison to today's huge inequities and, qualitatively, because it will be related to voluntary work alone and not, as today, to accumulated or inherited wealth. Furthermore, it will not be institutionalised, either directly or indirectly, since extra income and wealth ―due to extra work― will not be linked to additional economic or political power and will not be passed to inheritors, but to the demos. Anyway, the introduction of a minimal degree of inequality, as described above, does not negate in any way economic democracy, which has a broader meaning that refers to equal sharing of economic power and not just to equal sharing of income.


In conclusion, the ID economic model, which is characterised by the double aim of meeting basic needs and securing freedom of choice, through a system of collective and individual decision-making that combines democratic planning and an artificial “market,” in contrast to alternative models like Parecon, can reintegrate society with economy. This is for two basic reasons:

  • The ID model can secure real self-management and freedom of choice for citizens as producers and consumers ―something that, the bureaucratic nature of alternative models which rely exclusively on planning for the allocation of scarce resources, does not allow.

  • The ID model can secure the satisfaction of the basic needs of all citizens ―the basic criterion of success of a rational economy― as the basic needs sector functions according to the communist principle from each according to ability to each according to need,” in contrast to alternative models which, not making the crucial distinction between basic and non basic needs, can only cover some basic needs like health, or out of compassion.

Finally, the ID model stresses the important point that, even if we were ever to reach the mythical stage when resources are not scarce, questions of choice will continue arising with respect to satisfiers, ecological compatibility etc. From this point of view, the anarcho-communist reference to a usufruct and gift economy, to the extent that it presupposes “objective” material abundance, (i.e. an “objective” definition of needs) also belongs to the mythology of a communist nirvana. This is an additional reason why the proposed system here offers a realistic model of how we may enter the realm of freedom now rather than in a mythical post-scarcity society.


Democracy in the social realm as an ID component


The satisfaction of the above conditions for political and economic democracy would represent the re-conquering of the political and economic realms by the public realm ―that is, the reconquering of a true social individuality, the creation of the conditions of freedom and self-determination, both at the political and the economic levels. However, political and economic power are not the only forms of power and, therefore, political and economic democracy do not, by themselves, secure an inclusive democracy. In other words, an inclusive democracy is inconceivable unless  it extends to the broader social realm to embrace the workplace, the household, the educational institution and indeed any economic or cultural institution which constitutes an element of this realm.


Historically, various forms of democracy in the social realm have been introduced, particularly during this century, usually in periods of revolutionary activity. However, these forms of democracy were not only short-lived but seldom extended beyond the workplace (e.g. Hungarian workers' councils in 1956) and the education institution (e.g. Paris student assemblies in 1968).


The issue today is how to extend democracy to other forms of social organisation, like the household, without dissolving the private/public realm divide. In other words, how, while maintaining and enhancing the autonomy of the two realms, such institutional arrangements are adopted which introduce democracy to the household and the social realm in general and ―at the same time― enhance the institutional arrangements of political and economic democracy. In fact, an effective democracy is inconceivable unless free time is equally distributed among all citizens, and this condition can never be satisfied as long as the present hierarchical conditions in the household, the workplace and elsewhere continue. Furthermore, democracy in the social realm, particularly in the household, is impossible, unless such institutional arrangements are introduced which recognise the character of the household as a needs-satisfier and integrate the care and services provided within its framework into the general scheme of needs satisfaction.


Ecological Democracy as an ID component


If we see democracy as a process of social self-institution in which there is no divinely or “objectively” defined code of human conduct there are no guarantees that an inclusive democracy would secure an ecological democracy in the sense defined above. Therefore, the replacement of the market economy by a new institutional framework of inclusive democracy constitutes only the necessary condition for a harmonious relation between the natural and social worlds. The sufficient condition refers to the citizens’ level of ecological consciousness. Still, the radical change in the dominant social paradigm which will follow the institution of an inclusive democracy, combined with the decisive role that paedeia will play in an environmentally-friendly institutional framework, could reasonably be expected to lead to a radical change in the human attitude towards Nature. In other words, there are strong grounds for believing that the relationship between an inclusive democracy and Nature would be much more harmonious than could ever be achieved in a market economy, or one based on state socialism. The factors supporting this view refer to all three elements of an inclusive democracy: political, economic and social.


At the political level, there are grounds for believing that the creation of a public space will in itself have a very significant effect on reducing the appeal of materialism. This is because the public space will provide a new meaning of life to fill the existential void that the present consumer society creates. The realisation of what it means to be human could reasonably be expected to throw us back toward Nature.


Also, at the economic level, it is not accidental that, historically, the process of destroying the environment en masse has coincided with the process of marketization of the economy. In other words, the emergence of the market economy and of the consequent growth economy had crucial repercussions on the society-Nature relationship and led to the rise of the ideology of growth as the dominant social paradigm. Thus, an “instrumentalist” view of Nature became dominant, in which Nature was seen as an instrument for economic growth, within a process of endless concentration of power. If we assume that only a confederal society could secure an inclusive democracy today, it would be reasonable to assume further that once the market economy is replaced by a democratically run confederal economy, the grow-or-die dynamics of the former will be replaced by the new social dynamic of the latter: a dynamic aiming at the satisfaction of the community needs and not at growth per se. If the satisfaction of community needs does not depend, as at present, on the continuous expansion of production to cover the “needs” which the market creates, and if the link between economy and society is restored, then there is no reason why the present instrumentalist view of Nature should continue to condition human behaviour.


Furthermore, democracy in the broader social realm could also be reasonably expected to be environmentally-friendly. The phasing out of patriarchal relations in the household and hierarchical relations in general should create a new ethos of non-domination which would embrace both Nature and Society. In other words, the creation of democratic conditions in the social realm should be a decisive step in the creation of the sufficient condition for a harmonious nature-society relationship.


Finally, the fact that the basic unit of social, economic and political life in a confederal democracy would be the demos might also be expected to enhance its environmentally-friendly character. It is reasonable to assume ―and the evidence of the remarkable success of local communities in safeguarding their environments is overwhelming― that when people rely directly on their natural surroundings for their livelihood, they will develop an intimate knowledge of those surroundings, which will necessarily affect positively their behaviour towards them. However, the precondition for local control of the environment to be successful is that the community depends on its natural surroundings for its long-term livelihood and that it, therefore, has a direct interest in protecting it—another reason why an ecological society is impossible without economic democracy.


In a nutshell, the ID political project is a project which, taking for granted that autonomy and democracy cannot be proved but only postulated, we value autonomy and democracy more than heteronomy because, it is autonomy and democracy (in its proper sense) which we identify with freedom and we assess freedom as the highest human objective.



[1] T. Fotopoulos, “The End of Traditional Antisystemic Movements and the Need for A New Type of Antisystemic Movement Today,” Democracy & Nature: the International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol. 7, No. 3 (November 2001).

[2] T. Fotopoulos, Globalisation, the reformist Left and the Anti-Globalisation «Movement», Democracy & Nature, (Vol. 7, No. 2 (July 2001)

[3] T. Fotopoulos, The Multidimensional Crisis and Inclusive Democracy, (The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, 2005) ch. 1, 

[4] T. Fotopoulos, “The Ecological Crisis as Part of the Present Multi-dimensional Crisis and Inclusive Democracy,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol. 3, No. 3 (July 2007).

[5] Stephen Shalom, “ParPolity: Political Vision for a Good Society”, Znet (22/11/2005).

[6] For the full version of this model see, T. Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, (Cassell, 1997), ch. 6. and the Latin American edition Hacia Una Democracia Inclusiva (Montevideo 2002), cap. 6.

[7] See e.g. L. Susan Brown, The Politics of Individualism (Black Rose Books, 1993), pp. 127-28.

[8] T. Fotopoulos, “Is sustainable development compatible with present globalisation? The Chinese Case.”

[9] Murray Bookchin, “Municipalization: Community Ownership of the Economy,” Green Perspectives (Feb. 1986).

[10] In M. Albert’s and R. Hahnel’s The Political Economy of Participatory Economics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991) the authors provide what Albert modestly calls “a mathematical model demonstrating parecon’s superior convergency, efficiency, and stability properties as compared to those demonstrated by similar models for market and centrally planned economies’! (Par p 147)

[11] The Political Economy, p. 9.

[12] Michael Albert, Parecon, Life After Capitalism, pp. 37-8.

[13] Ernest. Mandel, “In Defence of Socialist Planning,” New Left Review (Sept./Oct. 1986), pp. 5-39.

[14] Michael Albert, Parecon, p. 111.

[15] T. Fotopoulos, “Participatory Economics (Parecon) and Inclusive Democracy, The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy.

[16] Giovanni Baldelli, Social Anarchism (NY: Penguin, 1972), pp. 144-45.