Michael Albert (born April 8, 1947) is an American activist, economist, speaker, and writer. Since the late 1970s he was been involved with publishing left wing literature. He is known for helping to develop the socioeconomic theory of participatory economics.
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 became politically active.:39 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. Although, Albert claimed the charges were 'cooked-up'.
Albert founded South End Press in 1977 along with Lydia Sargent, Juliet Schor,, among others.
In 1987, Albert founded and Zeta Magazine with Sargent. The magazine focused on libertarian and anarchist socialist thought. It was renamed Z Magazine in 1989.
Between 1990 to 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. Doug Brown, writing in the Journal of Economic Issues said their alternative to markets was novel, but mainly of academic interest.
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.
In 2003, Parecon: Life After Capitalism was published further outlining 'participatory economics' in a more accessible less academic format. The book was translated into twenty different languages. Reviewing the book Paul Ormerod felt Albert's criticisms of capitalism were unfounded. Albert spoke at the World Social Forum in the same year. He spoke at European Social Forum in 2004.
Albert was a founding member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society, in 2012.
Sean Michael Wilson created a comic book based on Albert and his ideas in 2013..
Albert identifies himself as a market abolitionist and believes markets should be replaced with 'participatory economics'.:222:284
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.