“Economic Democracy: A Worthy Socialism that Would Really Work” laid out a model that was to form the basis of my book Against Capitalism, published by Cambridge University Press in 1993. The article, like the book itself, was a theoretical response to the triumphalism of the TINA crowd (There Is No Alternative) that followed the collapse of Soviet Union and the rejection of socialism by its satellite states in Eastern Europe. “A Worthy Socialism” was intended to demonstrate rigorously that there is an alternative, at least in theory: an economically viable form of socialism that would be more democratic than capitalism and at least as efficient. Against Capitalism made the same point, but extended the argument further. Economic Democracy would be not only as efficient as capitalism and more democratic, but also more rational in its growth, more stable, more egalitarian, less prone to high unemployment, more ecologically friendly. I was sick of hearing even progressives say that “we are going to have to stop using the term ‘capitalist economy’ as if we knew what a functioning non-capitalist economy would look like.” (these words from the well-known philosopher and public intellectual Richard Rorty, writing in the widely read liberal magazine.).
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