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Anders Sandstrom interviews Robin Hahnel about Democratic Economic Planning

Here we provide a copy of the interview with Robin Hahnel discussing democratic economic planning, which was first published in Swedish in the magazine Arbetaren and translated into English.

Anders: With so many problems that need to be addressed with great urgency – climate change, the rise of right wing authoritarianism, racism and sexism, escalating economic inequality, dangerous great power rivalries – why spend time discussing how a truly desirable economic system might function?

Robin: One should never discount the possibility that somewhere in the world a popular progressive movement may suddenly find themselves in a situation where they can try to launch an ambitious, democratic, equitable new economic system. This happened a number of times in the 20th century – in Russia in 1917, in Spain in 1936, in China in 1949, in Hungary in 1956, in Cuba in 1961, in Chile in 1972, and in Venezuela in 1999 to name some of the most notable. And even as the reign of neoliberal capitalism extended through the first two decades of the 21st century, there have continued to been opportunities — in several Northern African countries during the brief “Arab Spring,” under Evo Morales in Bolivia, during the Syriza government in Greece, under Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and most recently in tiny Rojava. In all these “historic moments” more creative and concrete “pre-thinking” about how to organize a desirable alternative to capitalism would surely have been helpful...

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