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Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy presents a debate between two such possibilities: Robin Hahnel’s “participatory economics” and Erik Olin Wright’s “real utopian” socialism. It is a detailed and rewarding discussion that illuminates a range of issues and dilemmas of crucial importance to any serious effort to build a better world.
“Many recognize that the various forms of ‘really existing capitalism’ have deficiencies that range from harmful to lethal. Few have carefully thought through ‘really existing alternatives’ that offer hope for escape from problems and dilemmas that are profound, and imminent. Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright are two of the most thoughtful and perceptive analysts to have pursued this critically important course. Their reasoned and informed interaction is a major contribution towards clarifying the paths forward.”
“This is an extraordinary book. At one level it is a profoundly informed discussion of critical issues of radical systemic structure. At another it is a model of how a thoughtful dialogue on challenging and highly contested issues should be carried on. A must read for anyone seriously interested in how to conceive the possible forms of fundamental systemic change.”
“If you’ve ever wondered what a democratic economy could really look like, treat yourself to this engaging (and wonderfully comradely) conversation about two leading schools of contemporary socialist thinking—participatory economics and real utopias—by their distinguished founders.”
“Although the failings of neoliberalism are increasingly clear—social, economic and environmental—the myth of ‘no alternative’ remains a powerful one. In this book, Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright debate what an alternative might look like. Should it involve markets? Is a role for markets compatible with democratic values? To be so, what other institutions and policies must be in place? Their discussion is a superb introduction to these fundamental debates.”