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After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century

Tom Malleson (Postdoctoral Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow, York University)

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Oxford University Press Inc
12 November 2015
Politics & government; Socialism & left-of-centre democratic ideologies; Political structures: democracy; Political economy
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 why 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.
By:   Tom Malleson (Postdoctoral Fellow Postdoctoral Fellow York University)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 158mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   456g
ISBN:   9780190275006
ISBN 10:   0190275006
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   12 November 2015
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tom Malleson is an Assistant Professor in the Social Justice and Peace Studies program at King's University College at Western University, Canada.

Reviews for After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century

[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 Tom Malleson's After Occupy provides an exceptionally insightful and nuanced defense of economic democracy. It combines sophisticated philosophical analysis of normative issues with careful empirical discussion of the actual practice of democracy in different kinds of economic institutions. The discussion never indulges in simple cheer-leading for democratic principles, yet also never loses sight of the serious aspirations for a meaningfully democratic world. It is a superb piece of work. Erik Olin Wright, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Envisioning Real Utopias After Occupy is a stimulating book worth reading for anyone concerned with increasing inequalities and serious about investigating alternative ways to organize socio-economic cooperation. Thomas Ferretti, Ethical Perspectives Malleson's emphasis on the trade-offs of democratising the economy make him an important and original voice in contemporary radical economics. Elliot Murphy, The New Left Project


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