Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

ZSplash Forums AskAlbert Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

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    Bernard Moran

    Fair enough. I think different strategies could compliment each other rather than waiting for one approach to give rise to all the others. And I think you should consider the kickstarter idea for the parecon ‘game’ – the community around znet and so on would respond a lot more to you requesting donations than someone like me, and it could take care of the technical side of making a game. I’m also pretty sure a game like that would get a lot of people writing. Maybe I’ll sound out some programmers on how doable that would be and get back to you.

    Bernard Moran

    Hi Michael,

    I put up an ad on a programming site called yesterday with regard to a fun but educational parecon game. In a day there have been 8 bids for the job, from companies all over the world, with links to their websites and previous games they have made. The offers so far have priced the game at between 3000 – 5000 dollars to make, though many have asked for more details as to what kind of game it should be. I gave the main features of parecon – balanced jobs, remuneration for effort and sacrifice, participatory planning, workers councils and consumer councils etc, with some. 3-5000 dollars is a large sum on its own, but to crowdfund it amounts to 400 people donating a tenner, I’d be up for putting fifty dollars into it and more if required.

    I apologize if I seem to be telling you your business, I’m merely trying to contribute to a set of ideas that mean something to me, and so far effective communication to those around me, whether it be friends, family or leftists here in Ireland, has been a major stumbling block I think this game could help. I’ll put this on the forums? But I think the suggestion would carry more weight with your support.

    avatarMichael Albert

    I think you may be underestimating, by quite a lot, what features such a game would need to have to communicate well about parecon, and thus also the associated expense. How about sending me what you gave the programmers you mentioned for them to assess the project…

    Bernard Moran

    Well its hardly going to be an AAA 3-dimensional 1st person shooter. Chances are it would be a top-down 2-d game or a point and click adventure game. Here’s what I said in the job post –

    “I’m looking for programmers who are passionate about making the world a better place. This project entails creating a fun game which also effectively communicates the ideas of an alternative economic system called Participatory Economics or Parecon. Its up to you to consider the best format for this game, be it RPG, platformer or whatever, and sell me on the vision. You will also have to learn a lot about Parecon and understand it thoroughly in order to make the game as effective as possible.”

    I admit that should be much more detailed (I didn’t even put in the four primary features like I said I did, sorry for remembering that incorrectly), but I can update it. But I am after all only sounding out the prospects for a game like that. Mind you one of the groups who offered to do the job are already familiar with participatory economics aaand . . . having scratched
    the surface you may be right – but it depends on what kind of game you want to make. I certainly don’t have a full scale simulation, or fancy 3d graphics in mind.

    How far did you explore the idea of a game before, bearing in mind costs have come down a lot in the last few years?

    I’m certainly no expert on this, it just seems to me to be an idea worth pursuing and discussing.

    avatarMichael Albert

    If there is a group of programmers interested, who know about parecon – I would be happy to interact with them. Way back, in Political Economy of participatory economy, we floated the idea of a simulation and you can see that, there.

    The only thing I have thought would be true, or nearly true, to parecon, and get across its logic, etc., is a simulation of sorts, whereby the user functions as an individual consumer and worker – and then as the collective consumer council and workers council – and the program basically acts as the rest of the workplace or community, and then the rest of society. It could be about allocation, mainly, or it could involve arriving at job complexes, as well, I guess.

    Then it could include a simulation, alongside the parecon one, of capitalism addressing the same things – including revealing the contrast.

    I am doubtful on many counts, I admit – it being remotely entertaining, it teaching the logic accurately, and it being affordable to create.

    This kind of thing is far from simple – programming is very tedious, very demanding – and very hard to do in a manner that not only works, but also appeals…

    So, again, if there are programmers who are familiar with parecon, and think they could do something, I would be happy to communicated with them in hopes of something emerging.


    Hi Albert,
    I am a student of engineering and to be honest I have never been a part of any movement/political organization. However, parecon and other different ways of organizing society seem really interesting and I would love to learn more and participate. It’ll be really nice if you could kindly tell me whether somebody is working on this (parecon/worker self-management) in my country (India), with whom I could talk to.


    Hi Albert,
    I have one more question if you don’t mind. There is a video where Gar Alperovitz refers to the work that you have done on markets (along with Robin Hahnel). Could you kindly tell me which work is he referring to here??

    The said video:

    avatarMichael Albert

    I am guessing, but I would bet he has in mind the book we did with Princeton university titled quiet revolution in welfare economics. It is pretty technical…mainly for economists…and also expensive. But it is online too. And we have numerous articles on the issues, as well.


    Thank you very much for replying however, could you kindly reply to my previous question too?

    avatarMichael Albert

    I just saw your other question…I don’t know of anyone in India working on parecon ideas or endeavors. I wish I did…


    I have read a few books on economics such as Ha Joon Chang’s 23 things, Amartya Sen’s Uncertain Glory and I’m currently reading your book on parecon. As a non-economist who wants to understand the really existing economic system, learn about alternatives and engage in community discussions/organizing around these topics, are there other books that you recommend I should read??

    P.s: Thank you for so kindly replying to my numerous questions…

    avatarMichael Albert


    Under books, I think, in the main xpznet menu, you can find some reading lists. Those may help. If they don’t, by all means ask again…okay?


    Found ’em….thank you Michael….!

    avatarPhilip Ganchev


    Thank you for all your work over the years! I’m a big fan and proponent of parecon and Znet.

    Balanced job complexes are made up of tasks within one workplace, as I understand; I agree that this would be practical. Should a parecon equalize empowerment between different workplaces, and could it? Extreme examples are a trash collection firm vs a software technology firm, and plumbing vs law.

    avatarMichael Albert

    Hi –

    Yes, in all the longer presentations, I think – certainly in many of them – the point is made. Averaging has to occur inside and across firms. The reason is two fold – if it is only done inside then it is possible, and given where we start – where we are now – rather certain – that broadly speaking 20% of firms would have all coordinator work, and 80% all working class work – that is, managers, engineers, etc. etc. would all be employed by firms and go to, when necessary, other firms to oversee, etc. Sort of like how, now, lots of tasks are “farmed out”

    And secondly, even without ill will, as you note, there would be sensibly conceived firms with jobs leaning very coordinator and others with jobs leaning very working class.

    Balancing occurs in additional work – so one works in the coal mine, at a balanced job complex that is average there – but if it is below average for the whole economy, one works partly, as well, in sometasks that are more empowering, perhaps, for example, in the community.

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