Building a Living Democracy ... The Dialogue Continues

IN LIGHT OF THE EVENTS IN EASTERN EUROPE over the last year, Sojourners invited Gar Alperovitz to sketch a picture of an economics for the future. The result was his article "Building a Living Democracy" in our July 1990 issue. Taking into account the collapse of statism, or communism in the East as well as the declining moral capital of free-marketism in the West, Alperovitz opened a dialogue on the essentials for an alternative economics.

Sojourners has invited a handful of responses from others who interact with issues of economics, anticipating that each would bring a unique perspective to bear on Alperovitz's foundation. With these eight contributions, we hope to help the dialogue continue.

-- The Editors


The Renewal of Citizen Politics

I APPRECIATE GAR Alperovitz's attempt to relocate the progressive vision in participation for genuine self-government -- emphasizing that equality and liberty are prerequisites for meaningful participation. Unfortunately he did not make the break I was hoping for.

To some degree, Alperovitz's approach is still limited by what I call the "manifesto" approach to social change. We decide on the values, define the program, and then sell it to others, or, preferably, "convert" others to our truths.

If we progressives continue to focus on end-goal values such as equality, as does Alperovitz, we will continue to be seen as intent on foisting our ultimate plan on others, I fear. Most Americans think equality means a future state of forced leveling in which a lot of people get something for nothing.

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