Unleashing the Emancipatory Power of the ‘Spirit of Free Communal Service’: G.D.H. Cole, Dialogical Coordination and Social Change

  • Charles Masquelier


Masquelier reappraises G.D.H. Cole’s ‘spirit of free service’ theory, showing how this libertarian socialist vision could serve as inspiration for renewing the socialist imagination beyond the usual dualisms of state and market. The chapter begins with a detailed overview of Cole’s critique of the capitalist mode of production and liberal forms of democratic representation and the merits of his alternative. It then argues that the expansion of the cooperative sector along with developments taking place within the contemporary digital economy may be paving the way for the large-scale institutionalisation of the spirit of free communal service in a dialogically coordinated system of allocation of resources. To help achieve this a strategic vision is offered which could help move these values and practices towards the centre of economic and political discourse.


G.D.H. Cole Spirit of free service Guild socialism Alternatives to capitalism 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Masquelier
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

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