In this essay, we will summarize the model presented in Another Now, a proposal for a post-capitalist society. This summary is also available in video format (see video embedded below). However, the essay is definitive.
In 2020, Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics, former Greek finance minister, co-founder of DiEM25 and the Progressive International, general secretary of MERA25, and member of parliament in Greece, published the book Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present. The book discusses an alternate history where humanity broke with capitalism after the 2008 financial crisis. It’s a brilliant book, highly readable, inventive, and likely to appeal to general audience, so I recommend that you read it. This essay will present an abstract summary of the model found in those pages.
Before we begin though, some clarifications are needed.
Firstly, this is not a summary of the book Another Now. Another Now is written in a science fiction format with a lot of dialogue between characters with different opinions. In the book the characters find themselves in contact with another reality i.e Another Now, a post-capitalist reality. The details of that new society are scattered throughout the narrative. So I’m only going to present that alternate reality here. I will not say anything about the characters. And for the most part I’m not going to summarize the arguments made in the book, just the conclusions.
Secondly, this is only a summary of the economic model of Another Now. I’m not going to discuss activism, strategy, and transition, even though these topics are discussed in the book and they are crucially important.
Thirdly, this isn’t a review, analysis, critique, or endorsement. I will only provide an exposition of the model.
Brevity is the reason for the foregoing. Those are topics for another date.
Lastly, this essay emphasizes accuracy and completeness. However, it will be very clear and will make extensive use of illustrations. If you follow you’ll understand and by the end you’ll be an expert in Another Now.
Now, before we dive into the details I want to quickly give you the gist of Another Now. It’s a kind of socialism. There’s a big emphasis on properly functioning markets, on worker self-management, on radically reforming finance (especially through a public payment system), on international economic institutions, on the public ownership of land, on digital data rights, and there is extensive use of sortition for regulation and governance.
If you haven’t come across the word ‘sortition’, it means picking people at random (sorting people). You can use many different words: sortition, lottery, by lot. Effectively it means picking people at random. And this is the technique which was used predominantly in the Athenian democracy.
The main headings for the essay are as follows. I grouped the proposals in Another Now into five main categories:
- Production Units & Regulation
- Digital Information
- Land & Immigration
- International Trade and Development.
Before moving systematically through those headings, I want to give you a global picture of the model. Production units are divided into a nationalized sector, a worker-owned sector, and a domestic economy. And these production units are regulated by Social Accountability Juries. The central bank has a very important role, with a public payment system, local digital currencies, a private credit system, and each resident having an account at the central bank (broken into three sections with different functions). People have full property rights over their digital information and its use is controlled by a Sovereign Data Fund and micro-payment system. Land is publicly owned and is governed by County Associations, and immigration is managed regionally. Lastly, there’s a relation between the nation state and other states through the International Monetary Project, which regulates international trade and economic development.
Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to understand this yet. All will be explained.