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Overview

“Nice idea, but it doesn’t work in practice.” How often have socialists had this claim thrown back at them? And now, after the events of 1989, many of the Left are openly wondering what a defensible idea of socialism would be. This work addresses this question, taking as its point of departure John Roemer’s model of “coupon socialism”. Roemer’s model aims to combine the market with a commitment to equality through a simple, yet starkly radical, proposal: all citizens would receive an equal number of coupons with which to buy ownership rights
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Overview

“Nice idea, but it doesn’t work in practice.” How often have socialists had this claim thrown back at them? And now, after the events of 1989, many of the Left are openly wondering what a defensible idea of socialism would be. This work addresses this question, taking as its point of departure John Roemer’s model of “coupon socialism”. Roemer’s model aims to combine the market with a commitment to equality through a simple, yet starkly radical, proposal: all citizens would receive an equal number of coupons with which to buy ownership rights (voting, dividends) in companies. These coupons would constitute a second, separate form of currency, but could not be exchanged for ordinary money, nor transferred to other people. Not all the contributors to this collection endorse Roemer’s working model of market socialism, but they are all stimulated by his foray into a “real utopia”.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859840535
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Series: Real Utopias Project Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 0.64 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

John E. Roemer is the Elizabeth S. and A. Varick Professor of Political Science and Economics. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and has been a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of many books, including Classes, Interrogating Inequality, Class Counts, Deepening Democracy (with Archon Fung), and Envisioning Real Utopias. For more information on Envisioning Real Utopias and the Real Utopias project, and to access book content, please visit realutopias.org (site in progress).

Michael Burawoy is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in New Jersey. He is the author of five books, including the novels Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto, A Heaven of Others, and Witz. Cohen’s essays have appeared in The Forward, Nextbook, The Believer, and Harper’s. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Joel Rogers is Professor of Law and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Director of COWS. His many books include On Democracy, Right Turn, The Forgotten Majority, and What Workers Want. A longtime activist, Rogers was identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface: The Real Utopias Project
Introduction 1
1 A Future for Socialism 7
2 Inequality and Alienation in the Socialist Capital Market 45
3 Roemer's Market Socialism: a Feminist Critique 57
4 Status Inequalities and Models of Market Socialism 71
5 My Utopia or Yours? 93
6 Market Socialism as a Culture of Cooperation 110
7 Political Power, Democracy and Coupon Socialism 122
8 Coupons, Agency and Social Betterment 139
9 Finance and Market Socialism 159
10 Would Roemer's Socialism Equalize Income from Surplus? 170
11 Transitional and Utopian Market Socialism 187
12 What Do Socialists Want? 209
13 Saving Socialism and/or Abandoning It 231
14 Socialism as an Attitude 250
15 Why Coupon Socialism Never Stood a Chance in Russia: The Political Conditions of Economic Transition 265
16 The Prospects for Democratic Market Socialism in the East 277
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