Show 217: “ParEcon, ParPolity & the Future of the Left” with Robin Hahnel and Steven Shalom

“ParEcon, ParPolity & the Future of the Left” with Robin Hahnel and Steven Shalom”

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What is ParEcon?

Participatory economics is a proposed economic system that uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as “an anarchistic economic vision.” It emerged from the work of activist and political theorist Michael Albert and that of radical economist Robin Hahnel, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s.

Albert and Hahnel stress that parecon is only meant to address an alternative economic theory and that it must be accompanied by equally important alternative visions in the fields of politics, culture and kinship.

What is ParPolity?

Stephen R. Shalom has begun work on a participatory political vision he calls “parpolity”. Elements of anarchism in the field of politics, polyculturalism in the field of culture, and feminism in the field of family and gender relations are also discussed by the authors as being possible foundations for future alternative visions in these other spheres of society.

Who is Robin Hahnel?

Robin Hahnel is a Professor of Economics at American University. He is best known for his work on participatory economics with Z Magazine editor Michael Albert. Hahnel is a radical economist and political activist. Politically he considers himself a proud product of the New Left and is sympathetic to libertarian socialism. He has been active in many social movements and organizations for forty years, notably as a participant in student movements opposed to the American invasion of South Vietnam, more recently with the Southern Maryland Greens, a local chapter of the Maryland Green Party, and the Green Party of the United States. Hahnel’s work in economic theory and analysis is informed by the work of Marx, Keynes, Piero Sraffa, Michał Kalecki, and Joan Robinson, among others. He has served as a visiting professor or economist in Cuba, Peru, and England. He is the author of The ABC’s of Political Economy: A Modern Approach (Pluto Press. 2003) and Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation (Routledge, 2005)

Who is Steven Shalom?

Steve Shalom teaches political science at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Among his publications are Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing U.S. Intervention After the Cold War (South End Press, 1993) and Socialist Visions (1983). Steve writes for Z Magazine (many of his articles are available on ZNet) and is on the editorial boards of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars and New Politics. He has a textbook called Which Side are You On? An Introduction to Politics, and is active with the Montclair Civil Rights Coalition.

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