Michael Albert

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Michael Albert
Michael Albert in 2007
Born (1947-04-08) April 8, 1947 (age 76)
New York City, New York, United States
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Writer
  • Author
  • Lecturer
WebsiteMichael Albert at ZNetwork

Michael Albert (born April 8, 1947) is an American economist, speaker, writer, and political critic. Since the late 1970s, he has published books, articles, and other contributions on a wide array of subjects. He has also set up his own media outfits, magazines, and podcasts. He is known for helping to develop the socioeconomic theory of participatory economics.[1]


Albert was born in New York City and grew up in New Rochelle, New York.[2] In 1965, Albert was studying physics at MIT. He objected to the US military's funding of the university. This, along with the civil rights movement, led Albert to become politically active.[3]: 39 [4] He became a member of Students for a Democratic Society and opposed the Vietnam War. He was expelled from MIT, in January 1970, for disruptive behaviour,[4][5] although he claimed the charges were 'cooked-up'.[6]

Albert founded South End Press in 1977[4] along with Lydia Sargent and Juliet Schor,[7] among others.

In 1987, Albert founded Zeta Magazine with Sargent.[8] The magazine focused on libertarian and anarchist socialist thought.[9] It was renamed Z Magazine in 1989.[10]

In 1990–91, Albert and Robin Hahnel worked on outlining their ideas around participatory economics. They published Looking Forward and The Political Economy of Participatory Economics, with the later including an economic model of the system.[11][12] Doug Brown, writing in the Journal of Economic Issues said their alternative to markets was novel, but mainly of academic interest.[11]

By 1995, the organisation Z Magazine had branched out providing online content and media training. Along with the magazine the ventures are collectively known as Z Communications.[13]

In 2003, Parecon: Life After Capitalism was published further outlining participatory economics in a more accessible, less academic format.[14] The book was translated into 20 languages.[15] Reviewing the book Paul Ormerod felt Albert's criticisms of capitalism were unfounded.[16] Albert spoke at the World Social Forum in the same year.[17] He spoke at European Social Forum in 2004.[18]

Albert was a founding member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society, in 2012.[19][13]

Sean Michael Wilson created a comic book based on Albert and his ideas in 2013.[20][21]


Albert identifies himself as a market abolitionist and believes markets should be replaced with participatory economics.[22][23][24]: 222 [25]: 284 


In 2006, David Schweickart wrote a detailed critique of participatory economics called Nonsense on Stilts: Michael Albert's Parecon. He claimed three fundamental features of the economic system are flawed.[26]


  • What Is To Be Undone?, (1974)
  • Stop the Killing Train: Radical Visions for Radical Change, (1994)
  • Thinking Forward: Learning To Conceptualize Economic Vision, (1997)
  • Moving Forward: Program for a Participatory Economy, (2001)
  • The Trajectory of Change: Activist Strategies for Social Transformation, (2002)
  • Parecon: Life After Capitalism, (2003) Verso ISBN 978-1844675050
  • Thought Dreams: Radical Theory for the 21st Century, (2003) Verso
  • Realizing Hope: Life beyond Capitalism, (2006)
  • Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism, A Memoir, (2007) Seven Stories Press ISBN 978-1583227428
  • Occupy Theory (2013)
  • Occupy Vision (2013)
  • Occupy Strategy (2013)[27]
  • Practical Utopia: Strategies for a Desirable Society, preface by Noam Chomsky (2017) PM Press/Kairos ISBN 978-1629633817
  • No bosses (2021)


  • Unorthodox Marxism, with R. Hahnel (1978)
  • Socialism Today and Tomorrow, with R. Hahnel (1981)
  • Marxism and Socialist Theory, with R. Hahnel (1981)
  • Liberating Theory, with Holly Sklar, Lydia Sargent, Mel King, Robin Hahnel, Noam Chomsky and Leslie Cagan (1986)
  • Talking about a Revolution: Interviews with Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bell Hooks, Peter Kwong, Winona LaDuke, Manning Marable, Urvashi Vaid, Howard Zinn (1998)
  • Quiet Revolution in Welfare Economics, with R. Hahnel (1990) Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691604510[28]
  • Looking Forward: Participatory Economics for the Twenty First Century, with R. Hahnel (1990)
  • The Political Economy of Participatory Economics, with R. Hahnel (1991) Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691003849

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Alternatives to Capitalism". Redpepper.org.uk.
  2. ^ "Michael Albert on MIT, Secret Societies, and Powerful Institutions" on YouTube
  3. ^ Knight, Chris (2016). Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300221466.
  4. ^ a b c "From SDS to Life After Capitalism: Z Mag Founder Michael Albert on Activism, "Parecon" and a Model for a Participatory Society". Democracy Now. April 17, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  5. ^ Fishman, Mitchell S. (January 16, 1970). "SDS Seizes M.I.T. Offices With Ram". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  6. ^ "Former UA President Albert Reflects on Activism, Dissent – The Tech". Tech.mit.edu. Archived from the original on August 8, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "Juliet Schor, Boston College – ICOS". Icos.umich.edu. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Pilger, John (June 28, 2004). "John Pilger offers a reading list to counter Reagan". New Statesman. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  9. ^ "There is an alternative: participatory economics". Roarmag.com.
  10. ^ "Z magazine in SearchWorks". Z Magazine. December 27, 1989.
  11. ^ a b Brown, Doug (March 1992). "Reviewed Work: The Political Economy of Participatory Economics". Journal of Economic Issues. 26 (1): 294–297. doi:10.1080/00213624.1992.11505281. JSTOR 4226533.
  12. ^ "The sad conceit of Participatory economics". Libcom.org.
  13. ^ a b Schechter, Danny. "The ideas and vision behind Occupy activism". Al Jazeera.
  14. ^ Vanderborght, Yannick (September 1, 2005). "Book Review: Parecon: Life after Capitalism". Review of Radical Political Economics. 37 (3): 407–410. doi:10.1177/0486613405279136. S2CID 154107449.
  15. ^ Donegan, Kevin (March 16, 2003). "His economic plan: Start from scratch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "You've never had it so bad... honest". Timeshighereducation.com. January 23, 2004. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  17. ^ "UCU". University College London. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "www.agp.org – Archives – World Social Forum". Nadir.org. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "New Left Project – For a New Left International". Newleftproject.org.
  20. ^ Wilson, Sean Michael; Thompson, Carl (2013). Parecomic: Michael Albert and the Story of Participatory Economics. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1609804565. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  21. ^ "Sean Michael Wilson and Carol Thompson, Parecomic: The Story of Michael Albert and Participatory Economics – Peace News". Peacenews.info.
  22. ^ Market Madness. Z-Mag, July 13, 2004.
  23. ^ Albert, Michael. There Is An Alternative. ZNet, July 27, 2005.
  24. ^ Thomas Malleson. "The Theory and Practice of Economic Democracy" (PDF). Tspace.library.utoronto.ca. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  25. ^ Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2015). Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Future. University Of Chicago Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0226168005.
  26. ^ "Michael Albert's Parecon: A Critique". Archived from the original on August 28, 2017.
  27. ^ Shalom, Stephen R. (May 25, 2013). "Getting There: An interview with Michael Albert, one of the authors of 'Occupy Strategy'". New Politics. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  28. ^ Albert, Michael; Hahnel, Robin (2017). Quiet Revolution in Welfare Economics. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691604510.