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Vancouver Participatory Economics Collective

This is the blog for the Vancouver ParEcon Collective. Posts are made by collective members, regarding participatory economics, vision, strategy and related issues.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Economic Justice and Democracy

We'd like to point your attention to Robin Hahnel's latest book Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation published by Routledge Press. It's now available for ordering and hitting book stores near you any day now. Robin Hahnel has taught political economy at American University for over 25 years. He has co-authored, along with Michael Albert, numerous books on
participatory economics.

Click on this link for more info on how to order the book.

Here is a brief description of the content from the Routledge website:

Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation
(Routledge, 2005) argues that progressives need to go back to the
drawing board and rethink how we conceive of economic justice and
economic democracy. After carefully examining competing notions, this
book argues for defining economic justice as reward commensurate with
effort, or sacrifice, and economic democracy as decision making power in
proportion to degree affected.

After explaining why capitalism, central planning, and market socialism
are all incapable of providing economic justice and democracy, and after
examining why both social democracy and libertarian socialism failed to
sustain the cause of equitable cooperation, permitting the economics of
competition and greed to dominate the last quarter of the twentieth
century, a coherent set of economic institutions and procedures that can
deliver economic justice and democracy, while protecting the environment
and promoting efficiency, is carefully spelled out.

However this "participatory economy" is only a long-run goal, or guiding
vision. The final five chapters explore how to promote the economics of
equitable cooperation in the here and now through economic reform
campaigns and movements that already exist, and through alternative
experiments that promote cooperative over commercial values. Ways to
broaden the base of existing economic reform movements while deepening
their commitment to more far reaching change are emphasized.

Here are some briefe reviews:

"Can cooperation and democracy supplant greed and competition as the organizing principles of our economic lives? Robin Hahnel wrestles relentlessly and insightfully with this profound question throughout this wide-ranging study. ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY provides one serious roadmap toward a more just and egalitarian society; and as such, makes an important contribution toward the revival of the socialist tradition."

–Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts-Amherst

"Robin Hahnel's book is an excellent overview of the principles of economic justice, and the practical and theoretical flaws of both capitalism and the various attempts to reform or eliminate it. But it's far more than critique; it's also a blueprint for a better society, and offers plenty of ideas on how to get there. Even if you're not fully convinced, it will make you think. And how many books do that?"

–Doug Henwood, Editor, Left Business Observer

"Robin Hahnel breaks new ground here in articulating his vision of a participatory economy and-equally important-in showing how progress may be made toward this long-run goal within the interstices of the current capitalist system. Economic Justice and Democracy is essential reading for anyone concerned about overcoming the ravages of contemporary world capitalism and building a better society."

–Thomas E. Weisskopf, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan.

"Robin Hahnel's path-breaking book reconceptualizes our understanding of economic justice and economic democracy. This immensely readable and inspiring work should be on the bookshelf of every academic, activist and citizen who is seriously interested in creating a just and democratic world economy in the 21st century."

–Ilene Grabel, Associate Professor of International Finance, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver

And here is what the table of contents looks like:

Editor's Preface: By Marcus Raskin
Part I: Economic Justice and Democracy
1: Economic Justice
2: Economic Democracy
3: Debilitating Myths
Part II: Rethinking Our Past
4: Neither Capitalism Nor Communism
5: Social Democracy: Losing the Faith
6: Libertarian Socialism: What Went Wrong?
Postscript: In Defense of Libertarian Socialism - Noam Chomsky
Part III: What Do We Want?
7: Post-Capitalist Visions
8: Participatory Economics
9: Legitimate Concerns
Part IV: From Competition and Greed to Equitable Cooperation
10: From Here to There: Taking Stock
11: Economic Reform Campaigns
12: Economic Reform Movements
13: Experiments in Equitable Cooperation
14: Conclusion

For our recent interview with Robin Hahnel on "Parecon & the
Environment" click here.