Comparing Capitalism and Parecon

Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon Consumption

Income sets bounds on what we can produce, of course, in any economy. But what is the character of the process by which we consume, the character of our relation to consumption, the place of consumption in economic life, etc. This page compares Capitalism and Parecon vis a vis consumption.

Next Entry: Comparing Regarding Workplace Organization


From “The Epic of American Civilization”
by José Clemente Orozco


“Café Terrace at Night”
by Vincent Van Gogh

Introducing Capitalist

WIthin capitalism consumption is largely, though not exclusively, a personal affair. We each encounter a gazillion messages aimed at getting us to buy. We each occupy social spaces bent so that owning commodities is virtually the only means to diverse sorts of social interaction and/or direct fulfillment. We buy to get status, to fit, to feel worthy, to get love, even – and what is most distrubing is that the strategy makes sense. We live in such limited settings that consuming is a sensible route to such goals – even if one that rarely pays off.

Introducing ParEcon

In Parecon we of course still consume. But now no one has an interest in our doing more or less than suits our own fulfillment and development. Likewise, we can engage socially and need not try to fulfill non material needs with material goods. WE are not in a rat race where each tries to fleece the other. In fact, the contrary holds, the fulfillment of each is the precondition and outcome of the fulfillment of others, and vice versa.  Prices are not a product of power, but of true assessment of overall material and social coss and benefits.

Evaluating Capitalist Consumption

Shop till you drop is cute, but a severe condemnation. Built in obsolesence. Individual consumption to meet what could be vastly better addressed by collective consumption or actiivity. A process that isolates the boyer from the producer and gives each interests to fleece the other – producing anti sociality and isolation as senisble paths toward horrendously limited fulfillment, given that other wiser and better options are simply unavailable.

Evaluating ParEcon Consumption

We consume in full light of implications for ourselves, producers, and other consumers, in a way consistent with worker and consumer self management, that furthers rather than diminishing solidarity, and that respects and expands diversity – all in accord with equitable remuneration.


 Next Entry: Comparing Regarding Workplace Organization


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