[This is part of an debate regarding parecon and peercommony between Michael Albert and me. It is a repy to Michael Albert’s Summarizing Participatory Economics. All articles can be found on the debate overview page – more will follow.]
While I like the goals of the Parecon, one thing that confuses me is that Parecon, while intended to overcome capitalism, still resembles it in an essential aspect. Society still revolves about paid labor: everybody is forced to work for money in order to be able to buy the things they need to live. Why is that so? Do we really must forever force people to work because otherwise they wouldn’t?
A typical proponent of capitalism would probably respond: “Yes, humans are just lazy bastards. Without coercion, nobody would work and humanity would perish.” Michael Albert argues a bit smarter, but essentially in the same way:
If we disconnect work and income, … people will typically choose to work too little for the social good to be optimally met, and people will choose to take too much for the system to even work because the available output will fall well short of available demands for income.
So, everybody it still a bit too lazy and a bit too greedy for society to work without coercion, it seems. But is that claim as self-evident as Albert puts it? Moreover, if the mismatch between “available output” and “available demands” was real, could Parecon avoid it? I doubt both points.