PICT Faculty Lectures VIII

On Saturday, 4 May 2024, The Paris Institute for Critical Thinking (PICT) invites you to the 8th event in the PICT Faculty Lectures Series: “Governing the Global Polis,” a talk by scholars and activists Troy Vettese and Drew Pendergrass, co-authors of the 2022 book, Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change and Pandemics.

What does economic democracy look like? Is it even possible? In this talk, Troy and Drew argue that economic democracy requires the abolition of capital’s power of “mute compulsion,” replacing it with conscious control over production. In other words, economic democracy requires socialism.

The talk starts by exploring two of the most powerful arguments against socialist democracy: the problem of information, associated with neoliberal patriarch Friedrich Hayek, and the problem of institutions, associated with economist and Marxist turncoat János Kornai. The critiques levied by these two theorists, in particular their powerful arguments against planning, help to establish a negative relief of what socialism must be.

The failures of 1960s economic reform efforts in the eastern bloc also raise other questions that are answered, unintentionally, across the Atlantic. Athens, as it was imagined by Ellen Meiksins Wood, C.L.R. James, and parts of the Caribbean New Left, offers a vision of richly participatory direct democracy, a method of placing control of the economy in the hands of the people without the mediation of an unaccountable bureaucracy.

By putting the most prominent critics of socialism in dialogue with New Left utopians, Troy and Drew suggest that the apparent small-scale challenge to democratize the workplace and large-scale challenge to direct the economy away from environmental crisis are fundamentally united.

The lecture, followed by a Q&A session, is free and open to the public.


Saturday, 4 May 2024, 15:00-16:30


Maison de la Vie Associative et Citoyenne de Paris Centre—Site Marais
5 rue Perrée, 75003 Paris