Equal Shares: Making Market Socialism Work by John Roemer, Verso 1996
With contributions from Richard J. Arneson, Fred Block, Harry Brighouse, Michael Burawoy, Joshua Cohen, Nancy Folbre , Andrew Levine, Mieke Meurs, Louis Putterman, Joel Rogers, Debra Satz, Julius Sensat, William H. Simon, Frank Thompson, Thomas E. Weisskopf and Erik Olin Wright. Edited and introduced by Erik Olin Wright.
“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”.