by Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright
What would a viable free and democratic society look like? Poverty, exploitation, instability, hierarchy, subordination, environmental exhaustion, radical inequalities of wealth and power--it is not difficult to list capitalism's myriad injustices. But is there a preferable and workable alternative?
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." --Noam Chomsky
"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." --Juliet Schor
About the Authors:
Robin Hahnel is Professor Emeritus at American University in Washington DC, Research Affiliate at Portland State University, Visiting Professor at Lewis and Clark College, and Co-Director of Economics for Equity and the Environment. He is also the author of, amongst other books, Of the People, By the People: The Case for a Participatory Economy (2012) and The ABCs of Political Economy (2014).
Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of many books, including Classes, Interrogating Inequality, Class Counts, Deepening Democracy (with Archon Fung), Envisioning Real Utopias (2010) and Understanding Class (2015).