workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

Monthly Archives: September 2011

What the bosses have in mind for Greek workers

Austerity, and more austerity.
The bosses demand that U.S. workers work harder for less; they demand it of Chinese workers; and they are demanding it across Europe — where a better-organized working class is waging at least symbolic strikes and other protests, though as yet there has been no genuine general strike.
The New York Times publishes a column suggesting that the only way to “discipline” Greek workers to get them to accept their fate is to expel Greece from the Euro zone. Then the drachma can find its own level, and impersonal market forces can reduce Greek workers’ standard of level to the appropriate level. “Greece may require living standards to decline by as much as 40 percent to become competitive.”
This can’t be done through the political process, columnist Martin Hutchinson suggests, because Greek workers would never accept it. But “free markets” can do the dirty work if people just get out of the way. The resulting decline in living standards would encourage other European governments to impose austerity measures and “reforms.”

And this is indeed the way “free markets” work, if you leave the bosses free to do as they choose. If workers want to hold onto what little we have, let alone make any progress, we have to organize to accomplish the task.

Critiquing Parecon (deadline extended)

We are still accepting articles and other material for this special issue…


Anarcho-Syndicalist Review ( is  planning a special issue on Participatory Economics, which continues to draw attention from many anarchists interested in how economic life might be organized in a post-revolutionary society. We are seeking book reviews, critiques and other material that engages Parecon both as economic theory and political practice. Among the materials we are interested in are an overall summary and critique of the proposal, using the major texts; reviews of recent work including Robin Hahnel’s Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation and Chris Spannos’s anthology, Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century; evaluation of Parecon’s strategy proposals; and a review of previous debates and criticisms. We welcome other ideas.

While the ASR editorial collective remains deeply critical of the Parecon project (as we have been from the start), we are open to materials from a variety of standpoints. Our goal is to offer a substantive review and assessment of what has become one of the best-known visions for implementing a libertarian socialist economy, as part of our ongoing series of articles exploring anarchist economics. We hope to receive submissions for this special issue by Dec. 15, 2011, and would be glad to discuss specific proposals with authors in advance.