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Participatory Economy

Participatory economics (or parecon) is an economic system that was proposed by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel in the 1990s. It is a critique of capitalism and state and market socialism. Participatory economics is seen as an alternative to these types of economic systems and encompasses the goals of equity, self-management, and efficiency. It uses participatory decision-making, which is a way for the public to express their opinions and be involved in political and economic decisions.

As an alternative to private ownership of capital, means of production have social ownership so that either everyone owns the means of production or no one does. That way, income imbalances are not caused by ownership, unlike capitalism. Allocation is planned using a system of democratic or participatory planning, without the involvement of markets. In a participatory economy, workers are organized in workers’ councils. The objective of this is to create a non-hierarchical image of work and implement balanced job complexes.

One of the most significant points about a participatory economy is that it asserts that all people who would be affected by a decision made by the government or authorities should have a say in the decision. This means that every member of the society should be able to have some control over all decisions pertaining to him or her.

The idea of balanced job complexes is a prominent idea in participatory economics. What this means is that since some jobs are more desirable than others, each individual should be assigned to do different tasks. This is to try to level out the desirability of different jobs and remove economic hierarchies.

The main goals of a participator economic system is to remove class hierarchy, promote equity, and effectively implement the technique of self management.



1. Dhondt, Geert. Participatory Economics: A Theoretical Alternative to Capitalism. Retrieved from