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"Nice idea, but it doesn't work in practice." How often have socialists had this claim thrown back at them? And now, after the events of 1989, many of the Left are openly wondering what a defensible idea of socialism would be. This work addresses this question, taking as its point of departure John Roemer's model of "coupon socialism". Roemer's model aims to combine the market with a commitment to equality through a simple, yet starkly radical, proposal: all citizens would receive an equal number of coupons with which to buy ownership rights (voting, dividends) in companies. These coupons would constitute a second, separate form of currency, but could not be exchanged for ordinary money, nor transferred to other people. Not all the contributors to this collection endorse Roemer's working model of market socialism, but they are all stimulated by his foray into a "real utopia". The contributors are: Erik Olin Wright, Andrew Levine, Michael Burawoy, Fred Block, Joshua Cohen, Joel Rogers, Julius Sensat, Nancy Folbre, Thomas Weisskopf, William Simon, Debra Satz, Mieke Meurs, Louis Putterman, Frank Thompson, Harry Brighthouse and Richard Arneson.
The book is based on Roemer's 1994 "A Future for Socialism". Erik Olin Wright is the author of "Interrogating Inequality", "Classes" and "Class, Crisis and the State".
John E. Roemer is the Elizabeth S. and A. Varick Professor of Political Science and Economics. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and has been a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of many books, including Classes, Interrogating Inequality, Class Counts, Deepening Democracy (with Archon Fung), and Envisioning Real Utopias. For more information on Envisioning Real Utopias and the Real Utopias project, and to access book content, please visit realutopias.org.
Michael Burawoy is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in New Jersey. He is the author of five books, including the novels Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto, A Heaven of Others, and Witz. Cohen's essays have appeared in The Forward, Nextbook, The Believer, and Harper's. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Joel Rogers is Professor of Law and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Director of COWS. His many books include On Democracy, Right Turn, The Forgotten Majority, and What Workers Want. A longtime activist, Rogers was identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.