What about attainability? Is parecon an attainable aspiration for the populations of countries like the United States, Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, Greece, England, Australia, Russia, Mexico, France, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, Haiti, and Japan, etc.?
Normal citizens feel two very important obstacles to under- taking social change efforts:
1 The fear that even if they were to win a new world, it would turn out to be just like the old world—or worse.
2 The doubt that they could ever do anything that would win a new world.
Suppose you agree that if we manage to attain a parecon it will be vastly superior to capitalism and it will not devolve or degenerate back into the oppressive modes we now know, but will instead prosper and evolve positively, consistent with its guiding values. The model is thus viable and worthy. Attaining it would be worth it.
But can we attain it? This is a very different question. Ultimately the only proof is to succeed. Short of that the only argument for its possibility is:
- Recognition that what humanity creates humanity can transcend—feudalism was not forever, slavery was not forever, neither capitalism nor coordinatorism will be forever.
- Recognition that elements of parecon have already been implemented successfully. At www.parecon.org there are links to organizations that have explicitly implemented pieces of the parecon vision in their practice as well as accounts of those efforts, further discussion of the model, and considerable strategic discussion, as well. For that matter, our own daily lives are full of aspects of the norms and even the logic of parecon which we cling to obstinately with our better selves against the pressures of the societies we endure.
- A presentation of a broad set of strategic guidelines, aims, programs, structures, and steps, each of which can evidently be accomplished and which all together reveal a scenario that could end in a participatory economy. Regarding strategic demands and efforts that could accumulate into a process attaining a parecon, we cannot undertake such a discussion here, but in Moving Forward (AK Press, 2001), elements of that discussion are the primary focus.
Still, if the proof is ultimately only in the practice, the confidence to even try to attain participatory economic goals that comes from faith in human progress, from experience of expanding successes, and from consciousness of plausible scenarios of change depends first on more people entering the camp of those advocating parecon and trying to make it a reality. This book is obviously an effort to help propel that process.
Next Entry: Vision = Debit?