Democratic Economic Planning

Robin Hahnel

Published in 2021

By Routledge

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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.


“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.