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Social Structures of Direct Democracy: On the Political Economy of Equality

By John Asimakopoulos

Hardcover ISBN: 9789004262720 E-ISBN: 9789004262751

Dear All and especially LIBRARIANS,

Please consider asking your academic library to obtain a copy of my new book published by Brill or get your personal copy. Any help in announcing the book through online social networks, listservs, and blogs is greatly appreciated. Gratitude to all! Sincerely, John



“Ambitious in scope, timely in content, and rigorous in argumentation and analysis, John Asimakopoulos’ Social Structures of Direct Democracy promises to make a significant and lasting contribution to contemporary discussions in democratic theory and political economy. By combining the utopian ethical ideal of the libertarian socialist tradition with the technical precision and analytic cohesiveness of Marxism and classical political economy, Asimakopoulos offers a fresh and innovative perspective on the present and future of democracy, both political and economic, around the globe. The book deserves praise for its interdisciplinary breadth and critical depth.” —Nathan Jun, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Midwestern State University

“Social Structures of Direct Democracy is a lucid and powerful analysis of the threat that inequality poses to any viable democracy while also providing a brilliant analysis of the mechanisms that make it so savage and unsustainable. But the book provides more than a critique of inequality, it also offers a stirring program for change at a time when democracy is under dire siege. A must read for anyone concerned about the fate of democracy in the United States.” —Henry Giroux, Center for Research in the Public Interest, McMaster University

“Social Structures of Direct Democracy will undoubtedly make an impressive and timely contribution to the literature. The excellent structure, original focus and critical content will ensure that the book enjoys a broad appeal across a range of academic disciplines, at all levels. Indeed, anyone with an interest in (engaging with) new, wonderfully alternative responses to address the current political and economic crisis should buy this book now!” —Richard J White, Senior Lecturer in Economic Geography, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

ABOUT THE BOOK: Neoliberalism has pushed capitalism to its limits hollowing out global economies and lives in the process while people have no voice. John Asimakopoulos addresses the problem with a theory to practice model that reconciles Marxism with diverse radical currents and democratic theory. Social Structures of Direct Democracy develops a political economy of structural equality in large-scale society making strong empirical arguments for radical transformation. Key concepts include filling positions of political and economic authority e.g., legislatures and corporate boards, with randomly selected citizens leaving the demos as the executive; a common wage combined with markets and currency. Asimakopoulos shows that an egalitarian society leads to greater innovation and sustainable economic growth with positive social benefits in contrast to economies based on individualism, competition, and inequality.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Asimakopoulos, is Full Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York and executive director of the Transformative Studies Institute (TSI), an educational think tank. He has advanced degrees in and has taught sociology, political science, and economics resulting in a unique interdisciplinary perspective. His students include undergraduates and graduates from diverse ethnic, economic, and educational backgrounds who honor him for over 20 years with the highest teaching evaluations. His research is focused on social movements, critical theory, and international political economy. Asimakopoulos is author of Revolt! (2011) The Accumulation of Freedom (2012), many journal articles, and is editor in chief of Theory in Action, an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal.

For interviews and presentations contact the author at:



Mark Zepezauer



1 Theory, Praxis, and Change

The Ragged Edge of Anarchy: Direct Democracy



Communist Anarchism

Conflict Theory

Why Capitalism Must Always Collapse

The Relationship between Change and Radicalism

Structural Limitations to Change

Insurrection versus Revolution

A Case Study in Political Revolution: Egypt

Does Direct Democracy Require Small-scale Societies?

McDonald’s Iron Cage

2 Relations of Authority

The Fraud of Representative Democracy

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Stealing Democracy Old School

Political Parties

A Path to Direct Democracy

Economic Authority

Political Authority


3 Material Relations

Economic Utilities of Direct Democracy

Markets and Prices

Currency, Income, Banking, and Credit

Profit and Worker-owned Firms

Authority over Productive Property

Innovation and Small Business

Relations of Consumption

Income Distribution

Regulated Labor Markets: Hiring Halls

Distribution of Productive Property

Resource Use

What to Produce

How to Produce

Can the System Adapt?

4 Social Structure

Culture and Social Integration

Organizing Principles of Social Structure

Social Statuses

Social Roles

Virtual Worlds

Institutions and Socialization


Family and Sexuality


The Means of Violence

Compulsion and Discipline


The Social Network: The Future that Can be Now

Conclusion: No Islands of Egalitarianism in a Sea of Inequality

Afterword: What Can Grow in the Graveyard for Orthodoxies?

Richard Gilman-Opalsky




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