Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Paul Adler — The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism

Monday, October 21, 2019

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street 

Watch on Youtube

This talk will present the main themes from Paul Adler's forthcoming book "The 99 Percent Economy".

We live in a time of crises — economic turmoil, workplace disempowerment, unresponsive government, environmental degradation, social disintegration, and international rivalry. Adler's book argues that these crises are destined to deepen unless we radically transform our economy.

He argues for a democratic-socialist alternative. To overcome these crises, we need to assert democratic control over the management of both individual enterprises and the entire national economy. To show how that would work, Adler draws on a surprising source of inspiration: the strategic management processes of some of our largest corporations. In these companies, the strategy process promises to involve and empower workers and to ensure efficiency and innovation. In practice, this promise is rarely realized, but in principle, that process could be consolidated within enterprises and it could be scaled-up to manage the entire national economy.

Standing in the way? Private ownership of society's productive resources, which is the foundation of capitalism's ruthless competition and focus on private gain at the cost of society, the environment, and future generations. Adler shows how socialized, public ownership of our resources will enable democratic councils at the local and national levels to decide on our economic, social, and environmental goals and on how to reach them. The growing concentration of industry makes this socialization step ever easier.

Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance

Paul S. Adler is Professor of Management and Organization, of Sociology, and of Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California. He holds the Marshall Business School's Harold Quinton Chair in Business Policy. He began his education in Australia and moved to France in 1974, where he received his doctorate in Economics and Management while working as a Research Economist for the French government. He came to the USA in 1981, and before arriving at USC in 1991, he was affiliated with the Brookings Institution, Columbia University, Harvard Business School, and Stanford's School of Engineering.