Reply To: Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

ZSplash Forums AskAlbert Asking About Parecon/Parsoc Reply To: Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

Michael Albert

If a firm decides to be pareconish inside a capitalist country there are numerous pressures that will push it to reconsider. Yes, one is the problem of dealing with banks, or really all kinds of other institutions, who will view the choices as either hostile or idiotic.

But beyond that, there is the pressure of market competition. The pareconish firm will want to make decisions consistent with the well being and development of its employees, its neighbors, and those who it provides output too. The market, however, doesn’t assess all that but only profits – which in turn provide means to persist and grow, in particular to seek larger market share. If my firm makes bikes responsibly – in a pareconish way, and other bike makers due it in a corporate way, in a market system, they will generate far more funds to use on seeking audience, promoting sales, and, yes, even investing. Pressure rises to not clean up the neighborhood effects of our activities, to employ speed up and cheaper conditions for workers, and even to short change customers as long as one can do it withough hurting their allegience which is often quite possible.

These pressures will often be enough to wreck havoc with morale and confidence, or just to compel obedience to the broader (il)logic.

There is another pressure, as well. Employees of the pareconish firm who have a lot of coordinator class training and preparedness could bolt, to get higher income elsewhere. You might say, yes, but they can stay for dignity, a sense of purpose, solidarity, and so on. All true, and all enough, more than enough – until those market pressures start raising tensions, hostilities, etc. Then it will seem to those who can get more income elsewhere that there is little reason to not do so…

Those are some of the dynamics – real – and powerful. What it means is that to create a pareconish operation amidst a sea of corporate operations requires ideological commitment, I suppose you might call it. Yes, it establishes a basis for greater dignity and participation in work, etc., but it also bucks up against external pressures that are very hard to navigate. Moved by commitment to an experiment, to a goal, one can persevere. But without that, I think such efforts buckle – examples being coops that revert to old ways, or crumple. And een perseverence may not work, of course…