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After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century [Hardcover]

Tom Malleson

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Book Description

29 May 2014
These days, it is easy to be cynical about democracy. Even though there are more democratic societies now (119 and counting) than ever before, skeptics can point to low turnouts in national elections, the degree to which money corrupts the process, and the difficulties of mass participation in complex systems as just a few reasons the system is flawed. The Occupy movement in 2011 proved that there is an emphatic dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, particularly with the economy, but, ultimately, it failed to produce any coherent vision for social change. So what should progressives be working toward? What should the economic vision be for the 21st century?

After Occupy boldly argues that democracy should not just be a feature of political institutions, but of economic institutions as well. In fact, despite the importance of the economy in democratic societies, there is very little about it that is democratic. Questioning whether the lack of democracy in the economy might be unjust, Tom Malleson scrutinizes workplaces, the market, and financial and investment institutions to consider the pros and cons of democratizing each. He considers examples of successful efforts toward economic democracy enacted across the globe, from worker cooperatives in Spain to credit unions and participatory budgeting measures in Brazil and questions the feasibility of expanding each. The book offers the first comprehensive and radical vision for democracy in the economy, but it is far from utopian. Ultimately, After Occupy offers possibility, demonstrating in a remarkably tangible way that when political democracy evolves to include economic democracy, our societies will have a chance of meaningful equality for all.

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"[Tom Malleson] shows how these ideas [of economic democracy] have worked in social democratic countries and why they are worth serious consideration." -- Publishers Weekly"This is a wonderful book - concise, well-argued, impassioned. Our present political system is broken. Our present economic system is broken. But, argues Malleson, another world is possible, a far better world - not pie-in-the sky, but a 'realistic utopia, ' the key institutions of which can be specified and rigorously defended, for elements of this 'new world' are already present and have been carefully studied. As Malleson makes clear, our future is not determined. It could be the economic/environmental dystopia toward which neoliberal capitalism is taking us - or a sane, humane, genuinely democratic world. Malleson's clear-eyed analysis offers reasons for hope." --David Schweickart, Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University of Chicago "Drawing on and integrating a wealth of knowledge from political philosophy and political economy, as well as his rich appreciation of existing examples of economic democracy from around the world, Tom Malleson convincingly argues for Economic Democracy as a feasible and desirable alternative to which 21st-century economic justice movements should aspire. This book offers all the key components of a comprehensive alternative vision: close analysis and critique of existing economic structures, careful thought about how workplaces and investment might be democratized, and clear moral thinking about why such an alternative is so badly needed. Rigorously argued and engaging all the hard questions, After Occupy is an accessible and essential one-stop shop for academics and activists serious about creating a democratic alternative to the failing status quo." --Thad Williamson, Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, University of Richmond

About the Author

Tom Malleson is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at York University, Canada. He is the co-editor of Whose Streets? The Toronto G20 and the Challenges of Summit Protest (Between the Lines, 2011) and the author of Stand Up Against Capitalism (Between the Lines and New Internationalist, 2014).

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