Reply To: Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

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

Michael Albert

There is no single simple answer because the question assumes, I think, some background additional content. Does the community use roads, electricity, food from elsewhere and so on? Does it use hospitals, resources mined elsewhere, metals smelted elsewhere, and so on.

I don’t know much about the Amish but I doubt very much that they are as isolationist as you suggest.

But, for example, suppose some group wishes to literally produce and consume for only itself, and no other connection outside. Fine, I would presume it would do so. The cost to their well being would be enormous. I suppose one could imagine a country with a participatory economy that said, no, that is not allowed because it denies the next generation access to vast means of human well being and development, or something, but I think there is little likelihood that would happen. On the other hand, with a participatory society beyond the borders of the group, I am quite confident that the groups would rapidly dwindle in size…for obvious reasons.

Now, however, lets return to something a bit more realistic – a group of people does not typically choose to go off into some region and have zero connection to the rest of an economy. Rather, it interfaces, even it is somewhat isolationist or self sufficiently oriented, for whatever reasons, in a host of ways. So, there is no single answer. Can 1,000 people say we want food from elsewhere, electricity, diverse goods and what not, but we want to contribute nothing to the broader society – we want only to have our own production for only ourselves. Again, I can imagine a country with a participatory economy saying yes, but in this case I think it is far more likely (a) the situation would never arise, which is to say no community would ever say that – and (b) if it literally did arise, there would be a problem, though on a very small scale.

Now let me ask you a question. I believe your concern is about a non existent hypothetical issue or, at most, an issue involving very small numbers of people – and which is amenable to all kinds of solutions in different contexts. It is fine to wonder or be concerned about it, but of very low order, at most.

Are you equally concerned about a type of economy in which no one can say I want to work and contribute to society and I want to receive from it, but I do not want to be a wage slave – or employer of wage slaves? One could give many more examples of massive scale encroachments on the options of virtually all workers and consumers that exist only to benefit a few. Do you have, I guess we might say, a proportionately greater level of concern and worry about such actual matters?