• photo by curiousfarmer

    Thursday evening, October 11 to Sunday afternoon, October 14 at the Downtown campus of Madison College and sessions at the Inn on the Park. Featuring: Gar Alperovitz, Ellen Brown, David Cobb, John Nichols, Stephanie Rearick & many more individuals and organizations

  • Envisioning the democratic and equitable economic system needed to replace capitalism; planning the necessary steps to materialize it.

  • Uniting people around a common cause that replaces the tyranny of corporate power.

  • Humanity needs a clear, compelling vision of an equitable, sustainable economy that brings a high quality of life for everyone - an economy by, for, and of the people.

  • Creating a solidarity network to project our common vision of the equitable economy we seek.

  • with one another and with the rest of creation.

  • Thursday evening, October 11 to Sunday afternoon, October 14 at the Downtown campus of Madison College and sessions at the Inn on the Park.

Thank You for helping to make our conference a great success!

"You can't have meaningful political democracy without functioning economic democracy. I think this is, at some level, understood by working people. It has to be brought to awareness and consciousness, but it's just below the surface."

- Noam Chomsky Video of Noam Chomsky interview by Dada Maheshvarananda
Noam Chomsky

Conference Vision

The viral growth of the Occupy Movement, and the public support of it, is testament to the tremendous dissatisfaction with the inequities and abuses of global capitalism. Meta-corporations and large financial institutions have corrupted democracy in the United States and many other countries. In response, there is a wide spectrum of progressive forces struggling to rescue our political democracy; however, reform is not enough.
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The New Economic Vision

The Economic Democracy Conference is not a stand-alone event, but is embedded in a long-term effort to project economic democracy as the common demand of a mass movement to replace corporate plutocracy. Economic democracy provides the new economic vision and practice required by populist elements who now understand that an alternative economic paradigm is required.

Ten Key Points about Economic Democracy

The Meaning of Economic Democracy

The purpose of political democracy is to provide for political empowerment to all citizens; the purpose of economic democracy is to provide economic empowerment to all citizens and all local communities, and to prevent the concentration of economic power that subverts mass political and economic empowerment.
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A Just Political Democracy ...

A just political democracy is not possible without economic democracy. Mega-corporations, large financial institutions and corporate-owned media have corrupted democracy in the United States and many other countries. Because big money controls the political process so tightly, reform is not enough. Instead, we need “economic democracy” that economically empowers people and communities. This has the potential to unite people around a common cause that replaces the tyranny of corporate power.

Guaranteeing the Minimum Requirements

The right to life – guaranteeing the minimum requirements (food, clothing, housing, education and medical care) to everyone – is fundamental. Human beings require these in order to realize their individual potentialities, to develop culturally, to achieve inner fulfillment. Without these, the “pursuit of happiness” remains beyond the reach of the poor. To free all from the desperation of poverty should be the primary function and duty of any economy.
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The Right to Meaningful Employment

The right to meaningful employment with a “living wage” is also a fundamental human right. People should pay for the minimum requirements they need with the income they earn from honest work. A just minimum wage must be set high enough so that people can purchase the necessities. It is the responsibility of all levels of government to pursue policies that achieve and maintain full employment, utilizing each worker’s skills and capabilities.

Growing Local Economies

We must prevent the outside control of local economies and the drainage of capital. Corporate big box stores and restaurant chains send profits that are earned in the community to outside shareholders. Corporate banks use local deposits to speculate in the global stock market casino. Outside landlords take rent money away, too. To grow local incomes, raw materials, agricultural produce and other assets of each region should be processed and refined close to their origin. In this way, improvements in technology and manufacturing benefit the local inhabitants of every region.

A Basic Right of Workers

It is a basic right of workers to own and manage their enterprises, making the economic decisions which directly affect their lives. Whether as small-scale private enterprises or cooperatives or even public-managed utilities, local people and communities need to determine their future. Local economies with sustainable agriculture that grows healthy food, renewable “green” industries, credit unions that offer loans to local people are all elements of a vibrant community.


Cooperatives are the businesses of the future, based on the principle of one member, one vote. Since decision-making is decentralized, citizens become empowered to choose how their local economy should be run. Producer and consumer cooperatives should run most industry, trade, agriculture and banking. Successful cooperatives grow from the energy and commitment of local people. The foundation of the cooperative system lies in “coordinated cooperation,” in which free human beings with equal rights and mutual respect work together to fulfill a common need, for their mutual benefit.
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Measuring the Standard of Living

Purchasing capacity, the ability of people to pay for basic goods and services, is the most direct and accurate way to measure their standard of living and the true state of the economy. People need to feel that their lives are improving, which they feel as purchasing power increases. Purchasing power is the precursor to quality of life improvement, and its prime indicator. Prevailing consumerism manipulates people through advertising, creating artificial needs, to buy on credit and to ignore the environmental impact of their purchases.
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Overcoming Discrimination

Economic democracy is essential to overcome discrimination and marginalization. Poverty and unemployment feeds racism, sexism, and anger toward immigrants. Women, people of color, the young and the old tend to suffer lower wages and more joblessness in the economic downturn. Economic independence is crucial so that everyone may reach their full potentials as human beings...
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An Equitable, Sustainable Economy

Meeting people’s genuine needs and quality of life, not profit, should be the purpose of the economy. Economic Democracy offers a clear, compelling vision of an equitable, sustainable economy that brings a high quality of life for everyone – a dynamic economy of the people, by the people and for the people. By rejecting profit-making as the goal of the economy, it redesigns the economy so that it meets the actual needs of the people.

Latest Economic Democracy Posts

  • “How to Organize a Conference on Economic Democracy”
    January 6, 2013 by
    “How to Organize a Conference on Economic Democracy” 4 pages by the Steering Committee of the Madison, Wisconsin Economic Democracy Conference, published Jan. 2013. Download pdf CONTENTS: Brief review of Madison conference Steering committee and decision-making Working teams Web page Finalizing the dates and finding the place […]...
  • People’s Mic Interviews with Economic Democracy Organizers and Presenters
    October 31, 2012 by
    The Workers Independent News coordinated interviews with many of the Economic Democracy Conference presenters and organizers during the several months prior to the conference.  These interviews took place on the People’s Mic 92.1 FM in Madison Wisconsin with Doug Cunningham. Listen to podcasts of these interviews: October […]...
  • Mining and Eco-Socialism – Presentation by Carl Sack – Economic Democracy Conference 10-12-14
    October 26, 2012 by
    Mining and Ecosocialism Forum Outline Presentation by Carl Sack Economic Democracy Conference Madison WI October 12 2012   Introduction Thanks for coming.   Start with visioning exercise: “You’re flying over the Earth’s surface, and you see all the environmental problems the world faces: melting glaciers… droughts… polluted […]...
  • “The Ethical Need for Revolutionary Change” Part 1, by Bill Ayers and Dada Maheshvarananda with powerpoint
    October 26, 2012 by
    Download Powerpoint. Transcript of the workshop, October 13, 2012 Dada Maheshvarananda: Welcome. Our plan for this workshop is that I will talk for about 15 minutes, then Bill will speak, and then we will open it to a dialog with everyone. First I would like to explain […]...
  • “Economic and Environmental Crises: Causes, Deep Causes, Solutions” by David Schweickart
    October 25, 2012 by
    Download ppt Let me begin with a good quote from a bad economist: This, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable. So wrote Milton Friedman, in his 1982 preface […]...
  • Social and Economic Justice and Economic Democracy by Alex Jackimovicz
    October 24, 2012 by
    Plenary Talk by Alex Jackimovicz at the Economic Democracy Conference Thank you very much, it’s a real pleasure to be here. I feel as though we are all engaged in a similar kind of effort, and that is to transform our communities, transform our economy into something […]...
  • Overcoming Gender Oppression powerpoint by Mirra Price
    October 20, 2012 by
    Powerpoint presentation, part of the “PROUT: a Holistic Approach for Social and Economic Empowerment” panel workshop, by: Mirra Price is a writer, editor, tutor and retired English teacher. She organized against the Viet Nam War, convened consciousness-raising groups, and has advocated against relocation and for the Northern […]...
  • “The Ethical Need for Revolutionary Change” Part 2, Questions & Answers by Bill Ayers and Dada Maheshvarananda
    October 20, 2012 by
    Question: You brought up the topic of rethinking. As much unnecessary harm that we do to one another, humans have been very successful in terms of growth and invention, but the non-human world has been our sacrifice. Bill Ayers: I agree with you. I think that the […]...
    October 19, 2012 by
    Workshop: “HEALTH CARE FOR ALL” Workshop Track : Transforming Institutions Saturday, October 13, 2012 PROUT, the Progressive Utilization Theory propounded by P.R. Sarkar of India, has as its basis and goal “the welfare and happiness of all.” Accordingly, medical care is considered one of the minimal necessities […]...
  • Presentation by Nada Khader
    October 16, 2012 by
    Presentation by Nada Khader, Economic Democracy Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, October 11, 2012 Thank you, Beth, and thank you to all who helped make this auspicious gathering happen. I know that some of you here this evening have been meeting more than weekly to plan for this convergence […]...
  • Opening Speech by Beth Wortzel, Economic Democracy Conference chair
    October 16, 2012 by
    I am here to welcome you all on behalf of the Alliance for Economic Democracy and all our conveners who have worked so hard and done so much to bring this conference together. It has been an exciting year-long journey beginning with a small handful of organizers, […]...
  • Final Workshop List as of October 11 2012
    October 11, 2012 by
    (All workshops will be held at Madison College (Wisconsin Avenue Entrance)  For Directions and Map – see here. To look up more details on the workshop time and location with  a powerful but simple search tool – click here. Session-1 Fri 2:00-3:15pm  Social and Economic Justice  The […]...
  • Updated Conference Schedule October 11 2012
    October 1, 2012 by
    Madison College – Madison WI, October 11 – 14, 2012 Thursday, October 11 3:00-5:00pm at Madison College  (Wisconsin Avenue Entrance) Registration; Getting Acquainted; Gathering with Refreshments 7:00-9:00pm at Inn On The Park History of Economic Democracy and where we are now Opening Ceremony: Beth Wortzel, conference chair     Rev. Le Anne […]...
  • Conference Map & Directions
    September 27, 2012 by
    View Economic Democracy Conference in a larger map...
  • New Film Series in Madison from the Economic Democracy Collaborative
    September 7, 2012 by
    WHAT CAN BE DONE NOW TO RESHAPE OUR ECONOMY ON A MORE DEMOCRATIC, COOPERATIVE, AND SUSTAINABLE BASIS? The Economic Democracy Collaborative invites the Madison community to free screenings of four films which explore different aspects of this issue. These will be screened in the Grand Hall at […]...

See the full conference program here:

Conference Speakers and Workshop Presenters

Learn about our conference speakers and workshop presenters:

Speakers & Workshop Presenters


Your tax-deductible donation supports our efforts to organize a conference in which participants can begin to forge a partnership to build a sustainable, just and equitable society.

This conference is organized entirely by volunteers AND we have strived to keep the registation fees very affordable.

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