The tagline I chose for this site is, “a necesssary and sufficient condition for the liberation of the working class.” By this I mean that, under parecon, workers are truly liberated (sufficiency), and without it, they can never be (necessity).
I say this because if an economy is not a parecon, then it’s going to either be capitalism or some form of socialism (market or centrally-planned). Any of these options inexorably generate heirarchy — authoritarianism is unavoidable in any kind of capitalist or socialist economy. And in any authoritarian society, there are going to be class divisions, with workers at the bottom, managers above them, and owners above managers if the economy is a private-enterprise economy, with managers the ruling class otherwise.
But what about racism and sexism? What would the effect of parecon be on these?
In any authoritarian system, men are going to outrank women. There’s no way to have a heirarchical society that is bereft of sexism. So if one wants to eliminate sexism, one must eliminate hierarchy. This makes parecon a necessary condition for the liberation of women.
Is it also sufficient? No. There’s nothing about the fundamental logic of the economy that means that it, by itself, can eliminate sex-based discrimination and prejudice. But what parecon can do is create space for a world where sexism can be eliminated by removing an authoritarian obstacle. In short, parecon is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for the elimination of sexism. The same argument applies to racism.
Could the refusal of actors in a parecon to meaningfully address sexism and racism lead to a parecon itself being re-overthrown by the reactionary forces of capitalism or socialism? In theory, maybe. But in practice, I doubt seriously this would be an issue.
The key point here, though, is that if you want to live in a world where sexism and racism no longer exist, you must take up the implications of pareconish theory, beginning with what I believe is the core question: In a good society, will everyone do their fair share of shit work?
If you cannot or will not grapple with this question, you can never and will never be able to meaningfully address sexism or racism.