Equal Shares: Making Market Socialism Work
How is it possible to translate egalitarian ideals into practical policy? in this second volume of the Real Utopias Project, John Roemer proposes the creation of an economy which combines a functioning market with a commitment to equality. Roemer's novel mechanism for achieving this end Is the creation of two kinds of money: one used for the purchase of goods and the other, referred to as “coupons,” for buying shares in companies. All citizens, on reaching the age of majority, are given an equal number of coupons from which they derive ownership rights in companies, including dividends and a vote In board elections. Firms raise finance capital through the state which converts shareholders' coupons into money. At death, all shares and unspent coupons revert to the state for redistribution. This scheme, Roomer argues, allows for a significant degree of government planning and equal distribution of property in the framework of a free market. it is, in short, a working system of market socialism.
In the series of critiques which follow, a range of distinguished thinkers engage in live-ly polemic concerning the practicality and effectiveness of Roemer's scheme. The contributors are Richard Arneson, Fred Block, Harry Brighouse, Michael Burawoy, Joshua Cohen, Nancy Folbre, Andrew Levine, Mieke Meurs, Louis Putterman, Joel Rogers, Debra Satz, Julius Sensat, William Simon, Frank Thompson, Thomas Weisskopf, and Erik Olin Wright.
John E. Roemer's A Future for Socialism, on which his contribution to Equal Shares is based, was published in 1994 by Verso.