The Participatory Economy Project is an independent not-for-profit think tank.
To explore and promote a vision for a democratic alternative to capitalism, known as a Participatory Economy.
Our vision is an economy where there are no longer private shareholder corporations and markets, nor top-down centralised planning. Instead, it is an economy where:
- Productive resources are socially owned by everyone under the productive commons
- Workplaces and neighbourhoods are self-managed via democratic councils and linked together via bottom-up federations
- and where these democratic councils coordinate the use of the productive commons to efficiently, democratically, fairly and sustainably fulfil human needs via cooperative decentralised participatory planning procedures
In the world today we are faced with multiple crises. Growing numbers of people are feeling disillusioned and calling for system change; but what is a better alternative and how might an economy that works in the interests of the well-being of people and the health of the planet actually work in practice?
The Participatory Economy Project was formerly founded in 2022 by a group of people drawn to the work by economists and visionary thinkers Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, who in the 1990s began work on a comprehensive model for a new radical democratic alternative to capitalism, called a Participatory Economy, learning from real-world examples throughout history and rooted in the values of the Libertarian Socialist tradition.
Our motivation for setting up the group was to contribute towards improving the quality of debate around post-capitalist vision, to move away from vague rhetoric and dogma, and to explore vision in a more concrete way, in order to inform strategy and to inspire hope and confidence that there is a desirable alternative to our current economic system.
= For every individual to have the opportunity to participate in and influence a decision based on the degree that they are affected by it.
= Using our creativity and imagination to implement, learn from and experiment with ideas.
= To be receptive, respectful and open-minded to new and different ideas or the opinions of others.
What we do
Increasing knowledge about the viability of a democratic economy through research, exploration and experimentation
Informing people about a democratic economy through creating materials, courses, tools, events and workshops
Inspiring and influencing through producing content, networking and facilitating quality non-dogmatic dialogue
Planting the seeds of the future in the present through building innovative approaches
Mitchell is a contributor to the podcast “PEP Talk”, writes occasionally, and has helped develop computerized simulations of a participatory economy. He has worked in professional software development since 2000, and programs in a variety of programming languages. Mitchell lives in Chicago, is a founding member of CAPES (the Chicago Area Participatory Economics Society), and has contributed to many media-and-democracy efforts including those of Chicago Media Action and the Chicago Independent Media Center. His personal website is http://www.szcz.org
Jason is on the digital communications team and helps manage the website, social media and newsletter. His background is in digital technology and user-experience design and he has co-founded a worker co-operative. His main area of interest is in developing participatory planning software. Jason is an environmental activist, guitarist and lives in London, UK.
Anders Sandström is a trained accountant with a degree from Uppsala University. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden. His main area of interest is in exploring answers to accounting issues in relation to a future implementation of a Participatory Economy. He is the author of Anarchist Accounting: Accounting Principles for a Democratic Economy, Routledge 2021.
Thomas tries to spread the model especially in the German speaking region. He therefore translates parts of the website. His area of interest includes the further development and reflection of the model. His background is cultural anthropology, philosophy and literature. Thomas is a teacher, football player, environmental activist and lives in Pfaffstätten, Austria (close to Vienna) as well as in Puchheim, Germany (close to Munich).
Ferdia O’Brien is an electrical engineer turned futurist, living in Ireland. He coordinates the Democracy in Europe Movement’s (DiEM25) Task Force on Postcapitalism Policy, and does ‘research in public’ as Bright Age Beyond (brightagebeyond.com), focusing especially on democracy and postcapitalism. Ferdia is writing a book with Anders Sandström extending and revising the Participatory Economy model. His other interests include complexity science, secular buddhism, and the philosophy of pragmatism.
Antti Jauhiainen is co-founder of Parecon Finland, a think-tank focused on participatory economy and democracy. His articles on poverty, climate change, and the new economy have been published in the New York Times, Jacobin Magazine, and various Finnish magazines. He is interested in pushing and researching solutions to climate change that build groundwork for a democratic economy of the future.
Robin Hahnel is Professor Emeritus from American University in Washington DC where he taught for 33 years. During the past 16 years he taught as a visiting professor at Portland State University, Lewis and Clark College, and Willamette University in Oregon. He is “co-creator” of the post-capitalist “model” known as a “participatory economy”. He has also been active in many progressive campaigns over the past half century, beginning with opposition to the US war waged on Vietnam.
Michael is an independent game designer and musician. He’s currently working on a game that simulates different types of alternative economies (such as a participatory economy). He’s been working on it for several years, and claims it will be out soon about every 6 months. Prior to this project, he released several games for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. He lives in Illinois, USA a little south of Mitchell.