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Parecon: Life After Capitalism


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About the Author

Michael Albert helped found and establish South End Press and Z Magazine, among other institutions. A long-time activist, he now maintains Z's internationally acclaimed web site Znet ( He has written numerous books and countless articles dealing with, among other topics, economics, vision, social change, strategy, globalization, and war and peace among other topics.


The title of Albert's new book is short for "participatory economics," which might just be the answer for those anticapitalists in our midst looking for other economic alternatives. Albert, author, activist, and founder of Z Magazine, firmly rejects modern capitalism and presents a new economic model built on the principles of equity, solidarity, diversity, and participatory self-management. We've seen examples of this before in cooperatives, communes, and worker-owned plants and collective workplaces, but those are small-scale operations compared with what Albert is calling for here. He is advocating a top-to-bottom economic revolution that would dismantle corporations as we know them and restructure work processes, initiating various levels of workplace consensus and ensuring that work would be distributed fairly amongst all workers. Concrete examples of where "participatory economics" had been successfully implemented (whether in companies or municipalities) would have benefited Albert's highly theoretical work. Unfortunately, the book reads more like a political manifesto-long on idealistic proposals and short on real-life applications. There is no question that there is much wrong with the capitalist system today, but it is arguable whether the world is ready for the upheavals that would no doubt ensue on the way to achieving the worker Utopia that Albert has described. Suitable for economic collections.-Richard Drezen, Washington Post/NYC Bureau Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Michael Albert is an important thinker who takes us beyond radical denunciations and pretentious "analysis" to a thoughtful, profound meditation on what a good society can be like...." -- Howard Zin. "A program of radical reconstruction, presenting a vision that draws from a rich tradition of thought and practice of the libertarian left and popular movements, but adding novel critical analysis and specific ideas and modes of implementation. It merits close attention, debate, and action." -- Noam Chomsky "... this participatory vision is what Albert successfully provides for activists and academics alike, with the hope that is it will be used to inspire social projects aimed at defeating inequality and leading to people democratically managing their own lives." -- Rob Maguire, ZNet "Albert is ideally suited to synthesizing all the strands running through the anti-capitalist movement." -- The Ecologist "Parecon is a brave argument for ... a much needed...more equitable, democratic, participatory...alternative economic vision." -- Arundhati Roy "He is advocating a top to bottom economic revolution." -- Library Journal "Parecon is a pragmatic and visionary programme that would certainly boost human freedom; we ought at least to try it out." -- Red Pepper "Capitalism not working for you? Michael Albert may be tilting at windmills, but readers are flocking to his book on a system to spread the wealth and work." -- Los Angeles Times "an important contribution to the imaginative tools for everyone who wants to dismantle capitalism." -- International Socialism "A historically informed and logical economic blueprint with the practicality of a hand-tool, and a vision guided by the desire to find nobility in work." -- Kirkus Review

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