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LookLeft Forum – Realising a Left Alternative – Erik Olin Wright February 21, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Teachers Club, Parnell Square, Dublin.

Saturday 2 March, 2pm.

Erik Olin-Wright, American Marxist sociologist, will give a talk which contrasts the three broad strategic visions that have characterized the history of anti-capitalist social and political struggles: A ruptural vision, that imagines transcending capitalism through a fairly abrupt seizure of power that creates a disjuncture in the fundamental institutions and social structures of a society; an interstitial vision, that proposes building emancipatory alternatives inside of the existing society in whatever spaces make this possible; and a symbiotic vision, that imagines using the existing state as a way of solving problems in the functioning of capitalism in ways that also expand the scope of popular power. He will argue that these should be seen as complementary, not mutually exclusive.

It is hoped that activists from these strands of the Left will engage with the topic during the discussion following the talk, and that the beginnings of a synthesis of the complementary elements of these visions may point to a broad Left approach which moves beyond the cliche’s of the reform vs revolution debate.

Olin-Wright is the author of a number of works including Envisioning Real Utopias. He is currently Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

The talk will be jargon-free and prior familiarity with Olin-Wright’s work will not be necessary.

A recent paper on, upon which this talk will in part be based, is available here.

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Comments»

1. revolutionaryprogramme - February 21, 2013

Never heard of this guy before so had a rad of the linked document and got to say I’m not particularly impressed. A strange sort of “Marxist” who barely refers to class; replaces materialism with “moral principles”; talks of “deepening democracy” separated from any class content to that “democracy”; and who concludes by rejecting “rupture” strategies for the transformation of society in favour of “interstitial” and “symbiotic” strategies – i.e. rejects the revolutionary seizure of power for a reformist path within capitalism.

Eddie Coyle - February 23, 2013

@RP: “A strange sort of “Marxist” who barely refers to class..”

Apart, that is, from authoring the following books:

Class, Crisis and the State, London: New Left Books, 1978; .

Class Structure and Income Determination, New York: Academic Press, 1979.

Classes (London: Verso, 1985).

The Debate on Classes (London: Verso, 1990)

Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Yep. Erik Olin Wright, Barely mentions class. first thing that springs to mind.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

As my post made clear I was referring to the recent piece of his linked in the original post on this thread. It appears to be some kind of overview piece and it barely mentions class and in its conclusion is rejects the politics of “rupture” for reformist alternatives. He may well have written other pieces in the past which explicitly refer to class but as I reference in another poached he himself says that he has moved on from his earlier positions.

2. Micheal - February 21, 2013

I have heard of this guy before, but this is my first time reading his stuff. I would suggest that the terms “ruptural”, “interstatial” and “symbiotic” could easily be replaced with “revolutionary”, “co-operative” (attempts to build worker-led entities and institutions within the system) and “reformist” strategies. Wright seems to be trying to identify the drawbacks of each strategy in isolation, and then suggesting that any transformation in the direction of socialism will involve all of these together. If so, then he doesn’t reject ruptural/revolutionary strategies. In fact he says that ‘a key element of ruptural strategies—confrontations between opposing organized social forces in which there are winners and losers— will be a part of any plausible trajectory of sustainable social empowerment’. He speaks of ‘moral principles’ with respect to keeping alive the values of the alternative system/institutions we are apparently working towards, but goes on to insist that doing so without working out how to get from here to there is ‘pure utopian’. I don’t think he rejects materialism, & he certainly doesn’t downplay the importance of class. He just doesn’t use the kind of language that we might expect.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

Actually of you read the conclusion to the linked piece you see him reject “rupture” politics in favour of a combination of the other two.

RosencrantzisDead - February 23, 2013

I have read the conclusion in the linked piece and I can see no such statement. In fact, the conclusion reinforces what he says here:

[A] key element of ruptural strategies—confrontations between opposing organized social forces in which there are winners and losers— will be a part of any plausible trajectory of sustainable social empowerment.

He states that ruptural strategies will be used to aid the expansion of institial and symbiotic strategies (developing anti-capitalist/cooperative structures). He describes this as ‘non-reformist reformism’. A pretty compelling and realistic approach, I would say. I will definitely be attending on next Saturday.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

But what to make of the next sentence you leave off in that paragraph you quote from:

“The purpose of such confrontations, however, is not a systematic rupture with capitalist dominance, but rather creation of more space for the interplay of interstitial and symbiotic strategies.”

I find it impossible to read that as anything but an explicit argument against the revolutionary seizure of power by the working class.

Of course “non-reformist reformism” is no doubt better than “reformist reformism” – I guess he is talking here about a reformism not simply limiting itself to the institutions of bourgeois democracy but one which uses the tactics of militant class struggle to strengthen its hand in the struggle for reforms.

But lets not confuse that “non-reformist reformism” with revolution which he appears to explicitly refute.

RosencrantzisDead - February 23, 2013

Above you claimed that he rejected rupture politics outright, do you now agree that this is not the case?

You can only read his work as precluding a seizure of power by the working class if you understand this activity to preclude the development of grassroots campaigns and worker cooperatives or opposition to cuts in social welfare and so forth (the former is an example of an interstitial strategy; the latter a symbiotic one). If this is the case then what you say is certainly correct. We might then have a discussion about the efficacy or likelihood of the conditions for such a revolutionary event coming about. However, if you do not agree that such a strategy precludes this, then you will probably find much common ground with Wright.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

Apologies, my earlier post was unclear. I did not mean that he rejected the politics of “rupture” outright but rather that he rejected them as the decisive factor in the socialist transformation of society.

For me the key issue in the seizure of power is the question of overthrowing the state power which the capitalists use to enforce their rule.

Now words only have the meaning we give them but in the socialist tradition it is that question that has distinguished the reformist and revolutionary roads to socialism.

Wright introduces new terms but the content he gives these, in this piece at least, would seem to equate it with revolution in the more traditional lexicon, while symbiotic and interstitial would seem to equate with reforms in the traditional lexicon.

Of course revolutionaries and militant reformist will use elements of each others tactics but when the issue of transformation of society is raised one or other is given prominence. Wright gives prominence to the symbiotic and interstitial strategies with rupture strategies given a supporting role. A revolutionary approach, as I understand it, would have these the other way around.

LeftAtTheCross - February 23, 2013

Hi RP, my reading of the Envisioning Real Utopias book is that Wright equates the symbitic approach with reform and the interstitial approach with an anarchist DIY creation of alternative structures and processes within the gaps between the existing power structures. And using both the symbiotic and interstitial processes, and the limited gains and reinforcement of living examples of alternatives, to prepare the the groundwork of popular support for, and demonstrate the viability of, alternative forms of political and economic organisation. And the purpose of this process being to create the conditions for successful ruptural transformation. To be honest I think you’re correct that he’s not necessarily saying anything new per se, but by looking at these as complementary processes, not an either or, I do think that’s something which the Left as a whole needs to consider, given the gravity of the current historical situation.

RosencrantzisDead - February 23, 2013

There is a good debate to be had about which strategy should be emphasized. Wright does favour the interstitial and the symbiotic. Another person might argue that a rupture strategy should take primacy. In any event, there is much common ground to be found here. I would be very much of the view that Wright has much to inform socialists of all stripes in this regard. I think you perhaps have been too quick to dismiss him.

LeftAtTheCross - February 23, 2013

Rosencrantz, I don’t think it’s necessarily a question of emphasising any of them one more than the other at any particular point of the process. All can co-exist and work together to move society and economy Leftwards. The point being simply to minimise conflicts between them as much as possible. Ultimately it will not be possible of course, and at that point one would hope that having gone as far as they can, the tipping point to rupture will have a good chance of success. Of course the process will not necessarily cease at that point either, life will go on and there will be political struggle after that point also, although over different fundamental issues.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 24, 2013

Sorry guys but this line of discussion would seem to lead towards a complete blurring of the lines between reform and revolution. And that is not some academic issue.

If revolution is indeed a strategic necessity for transforming society then quite different perspectives will be argued in terms of the kind of organisation and programme required, both in terms of united front struggles and for the party type organisations created.

This is not to deny that there will be important elements of “symbiotic” and “interstitial” activity within the wider workers movement and indeed a significant overlap at times in concrete joint activity between those who give strategic importance to the different roads to socialist transformation.

And I would also hope that those who give strategic emphasis to the need for “rupture” to transform society will be able to listen to and learn from those who give strategic emphasis to the “symbiotic” and “interstitial” paths.

But that would be through the lens of the different strategic emphasis on “rupture”. Just as Wright argues for the politics of “rupture” to serve the different path to socialist transformation that he believes is necessary.

Micheal - February 25, 2013

Erik Olin Wright will give the same lecture at the University of Limerick on Monday March 4, 6:30 pm in HSG037. Wright will also take part in a methodology seminar earlier in the day, at 3 pm in F1030. The lecture is open to all. So is the methodology seminar, but particularly to left activists, campaign organisers, trade unionists etc.

3. Prenderghast (@JonPrenderghast) - February 21, 2013

Studied him years ago as part of my masters and tried to read Envisioning Real Utopias but it’s truly awful. He’s an analytic Marxist (in the tradition of GA Cohen, Elster, Roehmer) best known for the concept of contradictory class locations, IIRC. Generally means he rejects the labour theory of value and favour stuff like rational choice theory.

dmfod - February 24, 2013

I had to read up Wright’s theory of class recently so it’s pretty fresh in my mind.

Basically, he replaced Marx’s concept of exploitation as intrinsic to the capitalist mode of production with a distributional understanding of exploitation, calculated using game theory i.e. whether class A would be better off if class B did not exist.

In a stroke, this does away with the whole originality of the capitalist mode of production (e.g. because it could be applied to feudalism), the uniqueness of the capitalist class structure and with it the main reason why the working class is capitalism’s revolutionary subject.

He also includes ‘ownership’ of skills as a type of capacity to exploit alongside ownership and control of the means of production – so that skilled workers are said to ‘exploit’ unskilled workers by hogging credentials and being paid more than them (based on his distributional approach to exploitation) – and then he uses that to construct a whole series of ‘contradictory class locations’ between capital and labour that effectively exaggerates divisions in the working class into fundamentally different classes, making the idea of building a real opposition to capital way harder.

Finally, he also uses individualist survey methodologies based on asking people about their attitudes to capitalism, class etc. to ‘validate’ his theory of contradictory class locations – which of course implies class position = class consciousness i.e. total economic determinism.

Yuk yuk yuk basically.

4. Micheal - February 21, 2013

A lot of his stuff appears to be online – & on his official webpage. His work on the capitalist state, and on the prison system, strikes me as particularly useful. It seems to me that he defends the labour theory of value & rejects the ‘methodological individualism’ of some of the so-called analytical Marxists. At least this is the impression I am getting from ‘Class, Crisis and the State (1978)’ – there must have been a conversion in the meantime.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

Wright recognises such a change himself:

“When I began writing about class in the mid-1970s, I viewed Marxist and positivist social science as foundationally distinct and incommensurable warring paradigms. I argued that Marxism had distinctive epistemological premises and methodological approaches which were fundamentally opposed to those of mainstream social science. In the intervening period I have rethought the underlying logic of my approach to class analysis a number of times.

While I continue to work within the Marxist tradition, I no longer conceive of Marxism as a comprehensive paradigm that is inherently incompatible with ‘bourgeois’ sociology.”
newleftreview.org/II/60/erik-olin-wright-understanding-class

5. Ghandi - February 21, 2013

“The talk will be jargon-free” unlike to Op, could that be re-written in English.

6. Tomboktu - February 22, 2013

I think the paper that is linked to in WbS’s post is worth reading. He may not use ideas or analyses that are the bases of the political positions of many on the Irish Lefts, but his thinking is an effort to try to identify new strategies that can expand the support for socialism.

Olin-Wright is also speaking at a day-long event in NUI Maynooth the following Saturday. The rest of the event on the 9th looks less exciting to me, because too little of it is about capitalism.

Opening plenary – ‘Transforming Capitalism’

Reflection: Dr. John Sharry, ‘The personal psychology of transformation’

Keynote: Prof. Erik Olin Wright (University of Wisconsin, Madison), ‘Transforming Capitalism through
Real Utopias’

Parallel workshops (2 sessions)

Ia Participatory democracy, Anna Visser (Claiming our Future)

IIa Basic income, Dr. Sean Healy (Social Justice Ireland)

IIIa Education Prof. Kathleen Lynch (UCD) & Margaret Crean (Praxis)

IVa State investment bank Prof. Sean O’Riain (NUIM) & Fergal Rhatigan (NUIM)

Va The commons and climate change, Dr. Anne B. Ryan (NUIM)

Ib Associational democracy and transformation, Niall Crowley

IIb Equality budgeting, Dr. Clara Fischer (UCD)

IIIb Housing, community and regeneration, Dr. Rory Hearne, (Barnardos)

IVb Co-operatives, Dr. Stephen Nolan (Intermark)

Vb Commons and knowledge, Dr. John Barry (QUB)

Panel Discussion; Reflections from Workshop Facilitators

Closing plenary, ‘Strategies for Transformation’

Workshop facilitators’ reflections

Closing note: Prof. Peadar Kirby and Dr. Mary Murphy, ‘Transforming Capitalism: Irish Challenges’

LeftAtTheCross - February 23, 2013

The NUI-M event looks interesting also but it’s probably worth making the point that the LookLeft Forum is aimed at a very different audience, political and trade union activists, rather than the more academic focus of the other event. They are complementary of course, and the participation of speakers from civil society group sat the NUI-M event is also part of building political alliances and shared language.

Tomboktu, we’ll be expecting your presence then, and at least one probing question from you from the floor to the speaker?

fergal - February 23, 2013

Capitalism is always one step ahead of us..and is always transforming itself(for the benefit of the happy few). Slavery, colonialism,worker,consumer,state socialism for the rich etc etc. Capital can always transform itself. It is not rigid in itself, it is very flexiblle.
Looks like an intereting meeting. Not so sure about Rory Hearne and Barnardos though

dmfod - February 24, 2013

From the SWP to the ‘community sector’ to the poverty industry in just a few short years. What’s next, corporate social responsibility consulting, or maybe advising philanthrocapitalists?

KuffDam - February 24, 2013

Surely loss Healy, Aherne, Claiming our paychecks, Crowley and Murphy

7. Ally - February 23, 2013

This Olin seems to be a thinking Marxist rather than a mouthpiece, I’ll be looking in on this talk for sure.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

The implication being that his ideas are fresh and new untainted by a grubby association with any existing organisation. However the truth is that behind the academic veneer of his new jargon in terms of his conclusions on the way forward this is just a rehash of old-school reformist socialism.

Eddie Coyle - February 23, 2013

Two days ago you had never heard of him, today you’re able to sum up almost 40 years of writing and research.

Such intellectual force is quite the loss to the ULA that’s for sure.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 23, 2013

I make no attempt to do so. I have merely analysed the document linked on the original post. This does seem to be a recent piece and I therefore think it is not unreasonable to take this as representative of his current views. If you think I have misrepresented the argument he is making in this document then I would welcome you explaining how I have done so.

This critique does not invalidate the worth of any previous positions he may have held and how could it as I have not read anything else by him.

ejh - February 24, 2013

It might be, of course, that the process of thinking about and discussing positions is every bit as important as the positions themselves.

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

+1 ejh

dmfod - February 24, 2013

I fundamentally disagree with that – to me that just sounds like moralising along the lines of ‘it’s taking part that matters’, postmodernist paeans to endless diversity of opinions of equal validity, or emphasising the ‘learning process’ as being as important as the final conclusions.

It’s true the ‘learning process’ is important for developing people’s critical faculties and when you’re writing a college essay, for instance, what your actual conclusions are doesn’t really matter all that much – but in terms of political action, what’s more important is that the conclusions that come out of participation and learning are actually a useful guide to political action and don’t actively hamper it, like some of Wright’s theories do.

I would have thought that’s the fundamental difference between philosophy and praxis, interpreting the world and changing it!

revolutionaryprogramme - February 24, 2013

+1

8. ejh - February 24, 2013

No, it’s a fundamental difference between thinking you can (to all intents and purposes) know it all, and realising that all “positions” involve guesses and errors on a large scale – whcih means you need to be constantly informed by alternativer approaches and interpretatins by way of balance and correction.

ejh - February 24, 2013

Though by now you’d think I’d know how to put the reply in the right place. Should be no guesses, no errors…

dmfod - February 24, 2013

ejh: I agree with you that ‘realising that all “positions” involve guesses and errors on a large scale … means you need to be constantly informed by alternative approaches and interpretations by way of balance and correction’, but that’s not the same as saying that ‘the process of thinking about and discussing positions is every bit as important as the positions themselves’.

The notion of correcting and balancing implies a ‘better’ position can be arrived at, whereas the notion that the process of thinking and discussion is as important as the conclusions reached implies that all conclusions are equally valid.

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

Though all positions aren’t agreed on – even putting to one side the basic point that ejh makes that ‘positions’ aren’t concrete but are fluid and contingent (which isn’t the same as saying that they’re all the same but rather that there are to some extent less good and less bad ones), let alone all alternative approaches to achieving them.

ejh - February 25, 2013

whereas the notion that the process of thinking and discussion is as important as the conclusions reached implies that all conclusions are equally valid.

No it doesn’t. It does however imply that there always has to be an awful lot of genuine doubt.

yourcousin - February 24, 2013

I would think it’s the fundamental difference between people who made CLR an interesting place to read and comment for many years (WBS & ejh ) and bunch of latter day latcher ons who are very quickly draining the life out of it with their “correct” interpretations.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 24, 2013

But surely if you are an actor in the world then you have to argue and act on the basis of what you understand to be “correct” at any particular moment.

There are of course those who refuse to accept that their currently held “correct” view could ever be changed in any way as a result of new evidence or others pointing out flaws in the arguments supporting that “correct” view. But that is a different thing in my opinion.

And even those who believe they have a view on an issue which is “correct” enough to guide them to act should be wise enough to accept that there will be many other issues on which their views are going to be not clear enough to be a guide to action and so they should take a much more open approach regarding those.

ejh - February 25, 2013

But surely if you are an actor in the world then you have to argue and act on the basis of what you understand to be “correct” at any particular moment.

Well yes, but not really at the same time. Itdepends on how strongly you take terms like “believe” and “correct” to be.

Incidentally I don’t have any problem with other people being a great deal more certain than I am about things, at least in terms of debate and discussion. Indeed you can even argue that without strongly held views and positions, you’re not going to get as well-defined and as productive a debate. But the debate just needs to take place in a proper way, and it never comes to an end.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 25, 2013

Well strong enough to be able to act on them would be what is implied. On any issues I don’t have a view on or enough information about then I will tend not to act (and that can include arguing in favour of) on them.

Of course it may be that in the context of practical activity completely new situations may arise where it is necessary to take action with a less than usual degree of confidence in the decision but these would be the exception.

In terms of debate and discussion I have found that it is always best to argue for what I currently believe in while being open to being convinced that some or all of that is wrong to a greater or lesse degree – the point after all is to be the best that I can as an activist for my class in the ongoing class struggle. I have had firmly held beliefs on any number of questions challenged in the past and it is a good thing to be convinced by those challenges as they have improved my understanding of the world and ability to act in it.

Mark P - February 24, 2013

I don’t think that it makes sense to periodise things like that, your cousin. You have been here for years longer than dmfod or RP yet you aren’t half as interesting as either.

Some commenters aren’t to your taste. So what? There have always been people here whose views aren’t to mine. That’s the nature of any online community.

yourcousin - February 25, 2013

If you find me uninteresting then that means I’m doing something right, if you were to find me interesting then I would be worried.

revolutionaryprogramme - February 24, 2013

But saying that you need to be open to correcting and refining, sometimes even quite significantly, your positions as a result of arguments made by those with different views and/or anaylsis of concrete reality is for me quite different from saying that the process of discussion and debate is at least, if not more, important than the positions taken as a result of that discussion and debate.

9. Tomboktu - February 24, 2013

But surely if you are an actor in the world then you have to argue and act on the basis of what you understand to be “correct” at any particular moment.

If that is all that an actor does, then there is a problem, and it seems to me that that is a problem with the Left in Ireland.

In late 2011, Michael Albert spoke at a public meeting in Dublin about the “Parecon” model as an alternative to capiltalism. The questions and answers session after his talk was painful to sit through. I remember in particular two partiular public figures from the Left. They asked long, rambling questions that paraphrased many times over the complain that Parecon did not have central planning at its core but made no effort to think about how it might work, how it might not work, whether it would be better to try to move to it or if that would be a dangerous dead-end.. nah, it wasn’t a centrally planned economy, and Michale Albert was asked repeatedly questions like “do you not think it needs central planning?”.

If the people or groups on the Left are not prepared to examine other ideas on their own merits, but only against the current model they argue for, then they reduce the options for making progress.

10. WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

That’s a very interesting point and it raises so many issues. For example, there’s the clear necessity to drill down further into the concepts… ie ‘alternatives to capitalism’ and what that might mean, ‘centrally planned economy’ and what that might mean and competing approaches within all those and so on and so forth.

11. CL - February 24, 2013

‘Doubt everything’-Karl Marx’s motto.

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

+1

dmfod - February 24, 2013

Even that process is as important as outcomes! :)

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

Given that historically and in the contemporary period the outcomes are so patently sub-optimal I’d tend to say that short of actually achievement of the outcomes then yes, most likely.

dmfod - February 24, 2013

I was just pointing out that maxims extolling the equal importance of ‘process’ as an end in itself are just as much shibboleths as anything else – though doesn’t stop them from being presented as some kind of novel, groundbreaking step forward.

And I don’t think the answer to sub-optimal outcomes – given that what we were originally talking about was arriving at theories of things as a kind of ‘outcome’ – is to displace even the possibility of arriving at a reasonably ‘truthful’ theory in the sense of a useful guide to action, with the consoling idea that, in a way, it doesn’t really matter what the theories are, because what really matters is the intellectual journey.

All answers may be necessarily uncertain, contingent etc etc. but that’s not the same as assuming that the process of arriving at them is as important as the content of the answers themselves – which after all is the goal of any ‘process’ of enquiry in the first place!

Going back to the original topic, even if the process of Wright’s enquiries into class are as important as his conclusions, if his conclusions are wrong, what does that say about the process? Was it as valuable anyway as if his conclusions had been ‘less bad’? And how could any of this actually be demonstrated rather than just asserted?

It’s also worth pointing out that ejh’s original comment could serve as an all-purpose defence against any criticism of any conclusion, no matter how specious.

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

Well in fairness it’s you who brought the term ‘outcomes’ as distinct from ‘positions’ into the mix. I also think that ejh’s sense of matters, and certainly mine, is nothing to do with ‘consoling ideas’ or ‘intellectual journeys’, and of course it’s not an either or, it’s both. But that’s the point that been made from the off in this discussion that positions/outcomes (albeit the second is not synonymous with the first) and approaches are both important.

I believe it’s impossible to say that such conclusions as those of Wright are ‘wrong’ anyhow. Or that other conclusions are ‘right’. To my mind we’re simply not dealing with empirical areas here – at least not in the sense that anything heretofore has real predictive power (and even the descriptive power seems to me to be somewhat limited).

12. CL - February 24, 2013

Since we’re ‘not dealing with empirical areas here’ but rather speculative futuristic scenarios of alternative political economic organization perhaps a more imaginative approach than Wright’s is required to give real insight into human possibility.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin, and the Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick come to mind, although the latter is more relevant to contemporary tendencies within Irish political culture.

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

It’s interesting when you put it that way, of course at some point PARECON or alternatively a centralised planned economy might be implemented, but I am entirely certain that the outworkings of same would diverge significantly, most likely radically, from the manner in which they were supposed to. It’s a while since I read Wright’s Utopias, but I seem to recall he put considerable store in cooperatives, which I tend to myself. But scaling these up to state wide endeavours, or even replacing the contemporary forms of endeavour (private, non-socialised) with them would have unpredictable outcomes, and that compared, say, to a centrally planned economy might be arguably more straightforward. In any event it is in every sense speculative because I can’t see a political path from here to any of those options in the near to medium term.

Re LeGuin, couldn’t agree more.

CL - February 24, 2013

Co-ops have 130 million members in the U.S. Gar Alperovitz has done a lot of empirical work on this.
http://www.thenation.com/article/168026/beyond-corporate-capitalism-not-so-wild-dream

WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

Yep. nothing to sniff at there. I should have put in ‘though’ in after “with them would have unpredictable outcomes” to replace ‘and’… so that it read ‘though that compared, say, to a centrally planned economy might be arguably more straightforward’ otherwise the above doesn’t make sene, ie that it would be easier in some ways to go the coop route as the basis for a transformational approach to the economy.

But even still, seeing coops embrace the majority of all enterprises would still be a step change and its outcomes would be unpredictable.

Tomboktu - February 24, 2013

In Ireland. seeing Labour insist on its manifesto plan to improve the law to make co-ops more attractive would be a useful first step.


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