ParEcon Questions & Answers

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Values and what else…in Parecon?

vOkay, so you have nice values – is that all there is?

Values are not a vision. They are a useful formulation of desires than can and should inform a vision. We have certain values. We get from those values to vision by describing institutions that can accomplish the tasks of some domain – in this discussion, the economy – consistent with respecting or even propelling those values.

To praise values says something, but honestly, not too much, about our inclinations. This is because everyone offers wonderful values – from kings of old, through emperors and all manner of authoritarians, to massive owners who exploit massive workforces, to purveyors of carnage by war, and on and on. The fact is that humans quite obviously know a lot about right and wrong at some deep intrinsic level, and no one believes the way to offer a picture of preferred options is by saying they will produce wrong. So everyone says they will produce right – thus advocating good values. We do that too. So how are we different?

The proof of worthiness is not in the values but in the practice – sometimes personal behavior and life choices, other times, as in our case, the specification and advocacy of institutions consistent with or putting the lie to trumpeted values. 

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