Paul Mason points to several dynamics that he believes will force a postcapitalist transition. First: the increasing role and value of information -- which is essentially free to reproduce -- in economic goods and transactions means that value can be distributed without cost, undermining classical capitalist economics. Second: capitalism's requirement for ever-increasing material resources makes severe demands on climate, water, and food supply that are, ultimately, unsustainable. Third: social welfare, pension, and retirement programs, as currently conceived under capitalism, will not withstand the impacts of automation and associated underemployment.
The book makes good use of recently-rediscovered writings by Marx involving a thought experiment: what if a machine used in capitalist production were reproducible at zero cost? Marx concludes that this would undo the capitalist system; Mason argues that information and software in info-capitalism are precisely this sort of machine.
Jackson, an economist, was commissioned by the UK government to write a report on the future of the British economy, which he expanded into a book. The book argues that the current global economy relies on exponential growth, that this is unsustainable in terms of material and energy resources, and that we must therefore seek 'non-growth' economic models.
Lanier, a futurist, imagines a capitalist future in which all of society's material needs through automation, and in which the only valuable commodity is the personal information associated with individuals. Because computational power is unevenly distributed, large corporate entities -- which can vastly 'out-compute' any small-scale entrepreneurial ventures -- will dominate this future economic landscape, buying and selling people's data. Lanier's solution is for individuals to own and sell their own personal data -- so that any information generated by or about them is retained as their own property. That this vision seems infeasible may be taken as a 'reductio ad absurdem' of capitalism.
Gar Alperovitz studies and discusses alternative economic models. Recently, his focus has been on cooperative economic systems that embed large- and small-scale cooperative ventures within a municipal and regional economy, establishing forms of value that go beyond the monetary and market-based.
In his work 'Unjust Deserts', Alperovitz examines the philosophical justifications that have been offered for meritocracy, mounting an argument that they are flawed and inconsistent. Alperovitz most recent, synthetic work is summarized in his 'Pluralist Commonwealth' essays, which lay out a vision for a post-capitalist economy.
Alperovitz seems very eager to speak to the widest possible range of concerns and perspectives on the economy; he chooses framings and language intended to bring as many groups to the table as possible.
Carson's work has focused on making a case for 'markets without capitalism', pointing to a positive, vital role for markets in an economy that is supplemented -- instead of dominated -- by exchange. Carson's 'anarchism without adjectives', with its strong impulse to avoid any forms of coercion, lead him to embrace a variety of 'pluralist' approaches and to avoid 'totalising' economic theories; his most recent writings seem to be focused on ways of establishing 'federated', regional municipalist economic structures that allow for a wide variety of local economic forms.
The P2P Foundation Blog is a well-curated, very consistent source of articles, podcasts, and interviews on cooperative social and economic dynamics, produced by a core group of writers and editors based in Europe.
Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, produces highly cogent speeches, interviews, and essays on peer-to-peer, cooperative social and economic dynamics.
In the first few chapters of 'Debt', Graeber outlines various modalities of economic relationships from an anthropological perspective, summarizing them as: communal, hierarchical, and exchange. He lays out extensive evidence for an historical evolution in these modes in various human societies, showing that, for example, 'communal' economic models have been successful for stretches of centuries, and that -- in contrast with received wisdom -- a communal form of 'credit' is our historical origin story, followed by 'exchange' (which typically emerged only when strangers needed to interact economically, e.g. in the case of occupying armies), with 'barter' only appearing when forms of exchange break down (inflation or insufficient currency).
Graeber claims that the historical record demonstrates viable alternatives to capitalism, and that we cannot reasonably conclude that no 'better alternative' to capitalism can possibly exist.
In 'Four Futures', Frase assumes that the rise of automation will necessarily undermine capitalism, and lays out a 'quadrant' analysis of possible post-capitalist futures that might result. The two axes are "authoritarian vs. non-authoritarian" and "scarcity vs. abundance". Of particular note are two quadrants: "non-authoritarian + abundance" -- the 'Star Trek' future, in which everyone can meet their needs in decentralized manner; and "authoritarian + abundance" -- the 'Anti- Star Trek' future, in which high technology is under centralized, corporate governance.