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Democratic Economic Planning, Social Metabolism and the Environment

Three models of democratic economic planning — Devine and Adaman's negotiated coordination, Albert and Hahnel's participatory economics, and Cockshott and Cottrell's computerized central planning — have important implications for the wider perspective of ecological economics. When the models are reviewed from the standpoint of the complexity and biophysical interdependence inherent in ecological systems, they are shown to contain a number of problematic areas, revealed in the way they tackle ecological challenges. A potential way to resolve these problems points toward a new framework for understanding democratic economic planning. A merger of the different models and insights can lead to new institutions that would be better adapted to confronting current environmental issues.

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