Note — Nov 28, 2021

Long Live Participatory Socialism!

Thomas Piketty has had it with hypercapitalism, in this excerpt from his book Time for Socialism: Dispatches from a World on Fire, 2016-2021, he lays out his vision for a form of socialism. It’s a fascinating set of ideas centered on a stronger social state (education, health, retirement and disability pensions, and social insurance), co-management systems (à la Germany and Sweden), minimum inheritance for all (paid out at the age of 25), property and inheritance tax, and more international collaboration with a different organization of globalization. Overall, he’s aiming for much less inequality and a much greater circulation of wealth and power.

He’s not tackling participation in government, that would be a huge issue to address, as well as a general regression of democracy across the world. The last part on “a feminist, multiracial and universalist socialism,” as well as reparations, is a bit short in contrast to the rest but we’ll see in the book.

History shows that inequality is essentially ideological and political, not economic or technological. […]

Educational equality and the welfare state are not enough. To achieve real equality, the whole range of relationships of power and domination must be rethought. This requires, in particular, a better sharing of power in companies. […]

It would in particular articulate all social expenditure (education, health, pensions, social transfers, basic income, etc.) and environment-related measures (transport infrastructure, energy transition, thermal renovation, etc.). […]

[N]o valid environmental policy can be carried out if it is not part of a global socialist project based on the reduction of inequalities, the permanent circulation of power and property and the redefinition of economic indicators. I insist on this last point: there is no point in circulating power if we keep the same economic objectives. […]

the just society as I see it here is based above all on universal access to a set of fundamental goods — education, health, retirement, housing, environment, etc. — that enable people to participate fully in social and economic life and cannot be reduced to monetary capital endowment. […]

The participatory socialism I am calling for is based on several pillars: educational equality and the social state, the permanent circulation of power and property, social federalism and sustainable and fair globalization.