Alternatives to capitalism

You may not have heard of them but there are many alternatives to capitalism with significant followings.  There is a heated debate between fans of the Market Socialism versus those of Non-Market Socialism.

Market-based proposals include worker-managed models of ownership and control like those of Professor David Schweickart’s Economic Democracy (and here) and similar models by Estrin, Weiskopf and Fleurbaey. Others include ‘managerial’ forms of Market Socialism such as Bardhan’s proposals where enterprises are run by banks or mutual funds or where they are run by shareholders, as in John Roemers, Coupon Socialism.

Then there are Social Empowerment hybrids of capitalism and socialism such discussed in as the work of Professor Erik Olin Wright, and Eco-socialism and Ecological Marxism (Professor John Bellamy Foster et al) proposals.

Non-market socialist proposals include Michael Albert’s Parecon,

There is also heated debate heated debate as to whether any of these Market or Non-Market forms of Socialism could work in practice, or indeed should be called ‘socialism’.   

But one thing is for sure, many of the elements of these alternative proposals exist already in pockets of experimentation and can be seen to be delivering far more social value in a far more sustainable manner than pure, market based capitalist socio-economic relations and structures.

These living examples include Participative Democracy experiments pioneered in places like Porto Alegre, Brazil and now in the UK.

They also include the flourishing co-operative movement which has worldwide membership of around 800m people and serves 3bn others.  

Notable examples of these include Spain’s Mondragon Co-op Group Mondragon and the UK’s Co-operative Group and John Lewis, with revenues of £14bn, £12bn and £11bn. These enterprises have been shown to be more efficient than most private companies.

Similarly, in the co-operative banking sector, in 2009 60% of French bank branches were co-ops and in 1970 more capital sat in building societies in the UK than in banks. Much of the success of many co-op movements such as those in Almeria Spain have been shown to be down to the innovation and entrepreneurial support which comes from these co-operative investment banks.

State-wide examples of co-operative economics include the Quebec Social Economy.

Other mass-collaborative forms of enterprise include whats been described as the fundamentally anti-capitalist Wikipedia. 


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