1st Edition

Democratic Economic Planning

By Robin Hahnel Copyright 2021
    372 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    372 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Democratic Economic Planning presents a concrete proposal for how to organize, carry out, and integrate comprehensive annual economic planning, investment planning, and long-run development planning so as to maximize popular participation, distribute the burdens and benefits of economic activity fairly, achieve environmental sustainability, and use scarce productive resources efficiently. The participatory planning procedures proposed provide workers in self-managed councils and consumers in neighbourhood councils with autonomy over their own activities while ensuring that they use scarce productive resources in socially responsible ways without subjecting them to competitive market forces.

    Certain mathematical and economic skills are required to fully understand and evaluate the planning procedures discussed and evaluated in technical sections in a number of chapters. These sections are necessary to advance the theory of democratic planning, and should be of primary interest to readers who have those skills. However, the book is written so that the main argument can be followed without fully digesting the more technical sections.

    Democratic Economic Planning is written for dreamers who are disenamored with the economics of competition and greed want to know how a system of equitable cooperation can be organized; and also for sceptics who demand "hard proof" that an economy without markets and private enterprise is possible.

    Introduction Part I: Preliminaries 1. Defining Goals 2. Social Democratic Capitalism Part II: Central Planning 3. Central Planning: How to do it 4. Central Planning: Why not to do it Part III: Participatory Economics 5. Participatory Economics in Brief 6. Digging Deeper into Participatory Economics 7. The Annual Participatory Planning Procedure 8. Computer Simulations of Participatory Planning 9. Reproductive Labor Part IV: Investment Planning 10. Aggregate Investment Planning 11. Comprehensive Investment Planning Part V: Long-Run Development Planning 12. Participatory Education Planning 13. Participatory Environmental Planning 14. Participatory International Economic Planning 15. After the Plan: Dispelling Common Confusions Conclusion


    Robin Hahnel is a Professor Emeritus from American University in Washington DC where he taught for thirty-three years. During the past fourteen years he taught as a Visiting Professor at Portland State University, Lewis and Clark College, and Willamette University in Oregon.

    ""A key contribution to the on-going debate on democratic and participatory socialism. A must-read!"

    - Thomas Piketty

    "Robin Hahnel’s remarkable study, the product of a lifetime of serious thought and direct engagement, is directed to dreamers and skeptics. The dreamers aspire to "an alliance of free groups of men and women based on cooperative labor and a planned administration of things in the interest of the community," in the words of a traditional left-libertarian ideal. The skeptics regard this as hopeless utopianism. With scrupulous analysis, deft technical skill, and incisive vision, Hahnel explores a wide range of potential problems and exciting opportunities, constructing a strong case that the dreamers are the realists."

    - Noam Chomsky

    "This new book occupies a unique position in the writings about alternatives to capitalism. Robin Hahnel and his coauthors present both a vision and a technical model of a participatory economy that does not rely on competition or markets, while also reviewing other approaches to capitalist alternatives. A must read for anyone interested in structural solutions to the severe and persistent economic and social problems of today."

    - David M. Kotz, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Senior Research Fellow in the Political Economy Research Institute

    "In Democratic Economic Planning, Professor Hahnel proposes a theoretical conceptualization of participation and self-management to address the different dilemmas of a more just, fair and democratic economy, while avoiding bureaucratization...The chapters of this book are exciting and suggest how we must work on the transition process of moving from today’s societies as they are…because it appears we humans are animals of acquired habits."

    - José "Pepe" Mujica

    "Robin Hahnel has emerged as a major figure in the movement to build a vision of a superior economic way of life, one that could replace the capitalist present with a system of equality, worker participation, democracy, planning, and human fulfillment...[thisbook] should be considered essential reading in a field that will become more and more central to social and political debate in our polarizing and dangerous world."

    David Laibman, Science & Society