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Socialism in the Twenty-First Century

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)

Manchester Grand Hyatt, Coronado E
Hosted By: Union for Radical Political Economics
  • Chair: Robin Hahnel, American University

Integrating Long-Term and Short-Term Participatory Planning

Robin Hahnel
American University
Allison Kerkhoff
University of British Columbia


This paper explains (1) how to determine an efficient division of output between consumption and investment in a way that is democratic and participatory, and (2) how annual and investment planning can be integrated to improve outcomes as more accurate information becomes available. The proposal is of general relevance to the literature on integrating plans covering different time periods, but is of particular interest to a post-capitalist “model” known as “participatory economics.”

Stable Job or IPhones? The Dilemma of Innovation in Socialism

Mihnea Tudoreanu
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
David Kotz
University of Massachusetts-Amherst


Perhaps the greatest strength of capitalism has been its ability to promote sustained technological progress over long periods of time. Socialism must also promote sustained technological progress while avoiding the problems associated with technological change under capitalism. Socialism faces a fundamental dilemma regarding technological change: The abolition of unemployment has been one of the major historical goals of socialism. However, technological progress is inherently disruptive, and creates insecurity for jobholders. This paper proposes ways to promote technological advance in planned socialism while also providing meaningful employment security.

Information Technology and the Socialist Mode of Production: A Simulation of the Point Allocation System

Daniel Saros
Valparaiso University


Many socialist proposals do not take advantage of modern information technology in their theoretical frameworks. This paper presents a new vision of the socialist mode of production in which information technology is used to coordinate the activities of many different consumers and workers’ councils. In this proposal, consumers select “use values” from a “General Catalog” and organize them in “needs profiles.” Based on consumers’ relative valuations of use values, workers’ councils are awarded “points,” which are used to obtain means of production via a cooperative allocation process.

Social Equity Funds in a Pluralist Socialism

Peter Dorman
Evergreen State College


Socialism needs to be pluralist in its conception of ownership and control, its treatment of contending political formations, and its acceptance of different strategies, values, and technologies. This paper argues that these objectives can be furthered through the use of “social equity funds” -- pools of capital established for the purpose of promoting the interests of a social group or political orientation. This paper describes the institutional forms such funds might take, their governance, and different means by which they can acquire and build capital.
JEL Classifications
  • P2 - Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies
  • P3 - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions