introducing: democratism!

02/10/2010 § 7 Comments

so capitalism is fail, and state socialism is also fail.  so in their place, i offer: democratism!  a new and improved economic system that prioritizes people over profits.

democratism is based on democratic control over the production, allocation and consumption of goods and services in this country.  just as our political democracy is enshrined through a bill of rights and amendments (no church and state, free speech, voting etc) democratism is based on the adoption of a new set of rights: economic rights!

“rights” in liberal democracies are a way to assert that certain values are fundamental and to ensure that all policies adhere to the boundaries of those values.  i think we should ratify a new “Economic Bill of Rights” into the united state constitution as the mechanism for transitioning from a capitalist system towards a democratist one.

so, what is democratism you ask?

to be honest, i am not sure yet.  i know that it is basically a derivation of parecon, an alternative economic system dreamed up by michael albert and robin hahnel.

some key features include:

worker-ownership in cooperative businesses (all workers are owners)

-non-market based allocations of goods and services (democratic planning)

participatory budgeting of our government’s resources

-inclusion of environmental and human costs of products into the price of those goods

-democratically determined guarantee of basic human needs like food, housing, healthcare, education, transportation

-awesomeness that is better than the neoliberal empire clusterf*ckism of today

my goal is to advance a democratist vision and practice so that we have a true political-economic revolution in this country in my lifetime.

more on democratism

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§ 7 Responses to introducing: democratism!

  • kloncke says:

    HELLS YES.

    an economic bill of rights! i like it.

    one question: does democratism treat reproductive labor (housework, childbearing/rearing, etc) as work? i.e. compensation-based and worker-owned?

    and i’ll have to check out this parecon bizniss.

  • kloncke says:

    ps: this still sounds a lot like state socialism to me! what’s the difference?

  • @at says:

    hey katie thanks for stopping by ! and for the great questions. pls excuse my rambles to follow, will try to respond

    on caring/reproductive work.. its something ive wondered about myself and am still trying to work through.. certainly hired, caring work would be organized as co-ops, like any other human services firms within a participatory economy. but in terms of compensation for household labor, i think theres a lot more space for creation.

    for me, the question of compensating reproductive labor has two potential motivations (not mutually exclusive). 1) because reproductive work is gendered, and women do the vast majority of it for free, a way of reversing economic sexism is to compensate household work, 2) whether its men or women, society should recognize child rearing as a collective priority and invest in the ability of parents to raise healthy kids e.g. not working 2 jobs and never seeing their kids. i think both of these reasons should motivate a new economic system.

    however, im not really sure whether incorporating household labor into the economic domain is the best way to achieve these goals. i could easily see some type of voucher/tax system for child raising where society subsidizes reproductive labor. but my hope is that a truly democratic economy can end gender inequities (in roles, power and compensation) and spreads work around evenly to meet needs (instead of work for growths sake), which allows for more time at home for adults in communities. parecon in its core architecture is able to end identity based privilege in the economy, and can radically restructure our relationship between work and family. but i obviously cant predict or assume it as panacea to systems of oppression. anyway.. just scratching at the surface here, and theres actualy a whole thread on the very question of compensation of reproductive labor in parecon:
    http://www.zcommunications.org/parecon-and-gender-by-michael-albert but i think most importantly, the generation of a new economy requires us to engage these types of questions.. it doesnt exist so the answers are in our making?

    on the question of state socialism. democratism handles allocation differently from centrally planned economies (USSR) and from market socialist countries (yugoslavia, china). participatory economics is driven through a democratic budgeting process using worker and consumer councils. in parecon, each person as both a worker and consumer projects their desired economic activity for the year, and the country comes to a meta ‘balanced budget’ of goods and services desired and feasibly produced. compare this system to bureaucratic central planning that lead to severe inefficiencies seen in both surplus and scarcity of goods. to me the system of democratic allocation is the most exciting piece to figure out as a market abolitionist.

    anyway, this is basically the goal of my blog to start grappling with the specifics of movement goals so thanks for the great prompts to rethink in words!

  • […] the big picture of transitioning from corporate capitalism to a new democratist economy, relatively low hanging fruit is the institution of participatory budgeting […]

  • […] democratism, could a farm bill be subject to participatory budgeting?  what if subsidies were instead targeted […]

  • […] in the long term, im interested in the use of economic rights to frame revolution towards a new democratic economy […]

  • […] participatory economics (parecon) over the last 5 years and more recently neologizing democratism, im convinced its a movement necessity to sharpen our economic analysis and begin highlighting not […]

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