What is Parecon?

This site is dedicated to participatory economics, or “Parecon.” This is a fairly easy to comprehend yet complete economic model that explains the way an economic can be organized as an effective alternate to the Capitalism system and Socialism that’s centrally planned. The goal of this site is to promote economics among today’s general public and also to provide tools by which readers can explore the model closer.


Capitalism or Socialism concept

During the past century or so the main economic systems could be referred to in general terms as Capitalism and Socialism. Capitalism is centered on various concepts including private people owning productive property, workers earning wages for their labor, and bidding between buyers/sellers via a market system to determine the distribution of goods/services.

True Capitalism has never existed. That’s because it’s dependent on a certain political state in order to regulate it and prevent it from collapse. As a result, different forms of state capitalism throughout the world have existed during the last 100 years. The standard of living of many nations has improved in part due to the modern welfare system, there’s a growing gap between the rich and poor.

Other results include environmental destruction, over-consumption, financial crises, longer workweeks, continuous unemployment, monopolies and several other unwanted results. People also have less control over their work lives. Big corporations also have a large influence on the political system. The result is an injustice for the working and middle classes, and environmental disaster.

Meanwhile, workers throughout the up rose up during the first part of the 1900s. They demanded more economic justice/democracy and more control over their work lives. This resulted in Socialism forming in the USSR as well as other regions of the world. The system that included owning productive property was substituted with central planning. A class of privilege rose up. It took a position of power within the economy that was separated from the working class.

However, state socialism was unable to deliver true democracy/justice. Another issue is that it also had a very bad environmental record. This might be surprising since it might be implied that a left-leaning system would be better on environmental issues.

21st Century Alternatives

Many people throughout the world are growing unhappy with the economic system that’s founded on competition greed. They also don’t have the belief that authoritarian planning is the best system.

So there’s the issue of what should be used to replace the two systems. However, there hasn’t been an adequate answer for many people.

During the 1980s England’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher states that there was “no alternative.” However, some people argued that there was another approach that was possible. However, the majority of them haven’t been able to show a clear and strong alternative.

This would help to explain the situation involving Participatory economics. It’s a direct challenge to the There Is No Alternative (TINA) doctrine and an attempt to create a real answer to the issue of economic vision. It’s hoped that Parecon will provide a key contribution in helping experiments/movements that are trying to have a more just/democratic economy.

Participatory Economies

That brings up the issue of what a participatory economy is. It involves a social ownership of self-managed workplaces, productive property, and neighborhood councils. In workplaces, the decisions are made via democracy and every worker has a single vote. Also, jobs rebalanced so people don’t have boring and dis-empowering work. Payment is made based on people’s effort/sacrifice. Citizens in various communities are members of neighborhood councils. There they can help to make decisions about consumption/local public goods.

Workers, as well as consumers’ councils, are connected through a structure of federated structure that’s democratic. It’s made up of bigger geographic units. Democratic planning methods are utilized in order to make the economy’s overall plan.

There are various key values of a Parecon. They include self-management, solidarity, justice, efficiency, diversity, and sustainability. These are all different components that each has an important role in a participatory economy. There are various key institutions that can help to achieve the goals.

Parecon’s History


Participatory economics started from the past few hundred years of ideas/experimentation based on the concept that people ought to be able to manage their lives with others in ways that are cooperative, democratic, ad fair. They shouldn’t be ordered from higher ranks or be required to compete with other groups based on fear and greed.

The roots of Parecon are based on the vision of a particular economy that’s shared by several people who have fought for more economic justice/democracy. However, that resulted in a formal model that explains how that kind of system could function in today’s society that includes millions of people. The model was presented for the first time in 1991 by two economists. Since then it’s gained interest in the economic world.

In the past, there were parts of a Parecon in several different world regions. That includes South America as well as the revolutions in Spain and Russia. In those countries, workers create federations and councils that were self-managed. In today’s world, you can see parts of participatory economics that are implemented.

Their people are working in participatory budgeting. In addition, in the participatory economics being used people are working in participatory budgeting. In the international co-operative movement there are thousands of businesses that are owned and controlled by workers. The goal of the Parecon model is to promote the priorities of worker co-operatives to the entire economy. That’s through connecting them through a democratic planning method. That advances one of the main principles in the movement of cooperation between cooperatives.

It should be noted that there’s also some criticism of participatory economics. Some argue that it’s not only impractical but also impossible. For example, one argument is that it’s a system that focuses too much on the comparison, monitoring, consumption details, and so on. The argument is that other systems would be more effective so they should be implemented instead of Parecon.

Some supporters of Parecon argue that is the goal is only to deal with an alternate economic theory. It must be combined with other important vision in fields such as politics and culture. However, as we have seen in smaller, niche markets, such as the sous vide market, participatory economics don’t always prevail. In the case of Sous Vide Wizard, competitors were being outclassed due to the amount of resources needed to monitor the temperature, precision, and size of their water baths. In fact, the additional resources required to review the best sous vide equipment were too cumbersome, and most competitors were put out of business. This isn’t solely a sous vide market problem – but one as a whole. At Parecon, we’ll discuss both sides of the participatory economics argument.