Report from Z Media Institute 98 (fwd)

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Tue Jun 23 17:35:55 PDT 1998

I have read both of the books carefully and I think Folbre's criticism is dead on. Actually it's worse than that, because instead of meeting face to face, A&H envisage everyone as typing in their shopping lists into computers, which data are then made into a sort of local community plan request after debate; the process is repeated at the regional and national levels, where several plans are evolved and finally voted on after more discussion. This means that the input is certain tobe inaccurate, since each person will both exaggerate her own needs at each level and also misestimate them (can _you_ shop accurately a week in advance?). And the outcome will give virtually nobody what they want. These problems are in addition to the time spent in front of a terminal guessing and lying about what one might want and engaging in strategic behavior to maximize one's own, and one's community's, preference vis-a-vis others. Then there are the publicity problems about announcing one's preferences and having to justify them to the world.


On Tue, 23 Jun 1998, Doug Henwood wrote:

> William S. Lear wrote:
> >On Tue, June 23, 1998 at 16:04:00 (-0400) Doug Henwood writes:
> >>jf noonan wrote:
> >>
> >>>What is ParEcon? Is this a formal model or is it a catchy name for
> >>>an old fashioned democraticly run coop? Anybody know?
> >>...
> >>Albert & Hahnel have 2 books about this model, one academic version and one
> >>pop version. Plus Albert writes about it all the time in Z. It's supposed
> >>to be antihierarchical, with everything planned democratically. Nancy
> >>Folbre (now a MacArthur-certified genius) said their vision of life was as
> >>one long student council meeting.
> >
> >Does this mean you agree with her? What do you think of their
> >ideas?
> I haven't read either of their books, but from what I've read of Albert's
> model in Z, Folbre does have a point. It's hard to imagine any society
> emerging out of this one where people do so much face-to-face meeting; I
> have to confess I can't imagine away delegation and the division of labor.
> But like I say, I haven't immersed myself in the literature, so I'm not
> about to declaim on the topic.
> Doug

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