What Values in Parecon?
What values inspire and guide parecon-ists?
Participatory economics is built on five values. They are solidarity, diversity, equity, self-management, and efficiency. These values are not the model itself. They are not the vision itself. Instead these values only provide the ethical basis for the vision. They provide a moral foundation of the vision.
It is important to note that every advocate of any new (or old) economic system will formulate their advocacy in terms of some set of preferred values. The advocate will argue, unless they are doing nothing more than asserting without evidence or logic, that the advocated social arrangement does a very good or perhaps even an optimal job of delivering the preferred values.
Of course, their claim may be false, or even though it is true it may not compel us. It can be false, that is, in that the proposed new (or old) economic system in truth does not do an optimal or even a very good or perhaps even anything other than a horrible job vis a vis the preferred values. It can be uncompelling, however, even if true, if we (a) don’t like the stated values, or (b) feel that while they are indeed good values well met, other values that we hold equally or perhaps even more dear are violated.
It is important, therefore, when evaluating claims for some social system, economy or any other, to be quite explicit about the underlying values, about how they are met by the proposed system, and about why in meeting those values we can be confident the system has not violated others we care about – either via some overarching evidence, or by undertaking a case by case survey. This is the approach of parecon advocacy.