Review of Dahl’s Preface to Economic Democracy

This is my review in Commonweal of Robert A. Dahl’s 1985 book Preface to Economic Democracy shortly after it was published. In his “Sketch of an Alternative”, he gives me a shout-out in the footnote.

In clarifying my ideas on this question I have profited greatly from a number of unpublished papers by David Ellerman, cited in the bibliography, … . [p. 91, fn. 1]

Moreover, the book was his write-up of his Jefferson Memorial Lectures at Berkeley in 1981. An economics professor at Berkeley, William Dickens (now at Northeastern), attended the lectures and sent me a letter afterwards saying:

Robert Dahl was here giving a series of lectures. His view of the ideal society was a country full of Ellerman type co-ops. He attributed the plan to you and recommended that interested people contact ICA [Industrial Cooperative Association, now the ICA Group]. [Letter from Bill Dickens dated Nov. 30, 1981]

Thus we were very much on the same page, even though the review expresses a few criticisms of his line of reasoning in the book.

Click here to download the review.