Economic democracy is the idea that democracy belongs not just in politics, but in the economy as well. There’s a paradox at the very center of our society: we call ourselves a democracy and yet a central part of society, the economy, has very little democracy in it at all. Workers do not elect the managers of their firms. Bankers do not allocate finance with any accountability to their communities. Investment decisions are not made with any citizen participation… There are real, concrete examples of democratic alternatives in the economy out there, such as worker cooperatives in Spain and Italy, public banks in India, participatory budgeting in Brazil, capital controls in Malaysia, and so on. Ultimately, these alternative practices might be woven together to constitute a fundamentally different kind of society – a truly democratic one.

Tom Malleson, author of After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century, talks about the “philosophical paradox” of the current economy and the feasibility of a true economic democracy.
Image: Board members stand in front of their ‘thrift cooperative’ in Mulukanoor, Andhra Pradesh, by Brett epic. Creative commons via Wikimedia Commons.

Economic democracy is the idea that democracy belongs not just in politics, but in the economy as well. There’s a paradox at the very center of our society: we call ourselves a democracy and yet a central part of society, the economy, has very little democracy in it at all. Workers do not elect the managers of their firms. Bankers do not allocate finance with any accountability to their communities. Investment decisions are not made with any citizen participation… There are real, concrete examples of democratic alternatives in the economy out there, such as worker cooperatives in Spain and Italy, public banks in India, participatory budgeting in Brazil, capital controls in Malaysia, and so on. Ultimately, these alternative practices might be woven together to constitute a fundamentally different kind of society – a truly democratic one.

Tom Malleson, author of After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century, talks about the “philosophical paradox” of the current economy and the feasibility of a true economic democracy.

Image: Board members stand in front of their ‘thrift cooperative’ in Mulukanoor, Andhra Pradesh, by Brett epic. Creative commons via Wikimedia Commons.