As we imagine a better economic system, we want to be able to discern, name, and think critically about the different possibilities.
In this module, we examine neoliberal capitalism, our current system, and four alternative economic systems. We analyze the ownership, allocation, and governance of resources within each of those systems, consider their historical context, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
- Identify different kinds of socialism (i.e. social democracy, central planning, democratic planning, and market socialism)
- Envision how ownership and allocation in our economy could look differently in a world we wish to see
- Discussing the questions of ownership, allocation, governance, and division of labor among different types of “socialist” economic systems will allow us to critically engage in creating the vision of the economic system we want to see.
- Neoliberal capitalism is marked by private ownership of the means of production, with commodity production and wage labor for the goal of profit maximization.
- Social democracy is a gentler form of capitalism with stronger regulation of capital to protect workers, consumers and the environment, and a social safety net.
- Centralized planning is a system where the government owns and manages all businesses through top-down planning, while providing a robust welfare state.
- Market socialism is where firms are owned and/or managed by their workers (with no capitalist class), and compete in free markets. Democratic planning features worker and community coouncils from local to international levels who democratically plan all aspects of the economy.
The People’s Republic of Walmart: How the World’s Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism
Leigh Phillips & Michal Rozworski
Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Councils from the Commune to the Present
Immanuel Ness & Dario Azzellini