October 28, 2021

Researching "third way" democratically-run economies with Clojure(script)

On October 28, 2021, I gave an online slideshow presentation at the Chicago Clojure Meetup, entitled "Researching 'third way' democratically-run economies with Clojure(script)".

The presentation was advertised as follows:

For most of the twentieth century, the main models of organizing an economy were markets (“capitalism”) or state-run command planning (“socialism” / “communism”). But since 1991, there has emerged research into a “third way” of organizing an economy, described with the term “democratic planning”.

This slideshow presentation was given online for the Chicago Clojure Meetup on October 28, 2021, and based on work in the new book "Democratic Economic Planning" by Robin Hahnel (Routledge, 2021), by software engineer (and "Democratic Economic Planning" contributor) Mitchell Szczepanczyk. Mitchell demonstrates research on the feasibility of one model of democratic planning, with Clojure-and-ClojureScript-powered computerized simulations of an economy.

To explain the full context of this research, Mitchell will ask viewers to join him on a whirlwind tour on a variety of topics — including economics, 20th century history, the history of ideas, different computer programming languages, and mathematics, in addition to Clojure and ClojureScript.

In the three years working on the code for the research and the book, I had intended to present the code powering the research at the Chicago Clojure Meetup. The COVID-19 pandemic put the meetup into stasis, but it came back in late 2021, and I volunteered to give a talk (this was my third presentation for the meetup, all time).

For weeks, I worked to craft this presentation; I wanted to be sure that all the main important code and ideas got a hearing. I booked two hours' time for the presentation, thinking that should be more than enough time for the presentation. It so happens that I finished with just eight minutes to spare of the two hour allotment, but the result wound up being, if I may be so bold, extraordinary. In working out the presentation, I thought I could make it longer but clearly I'm glad I stopeed where I did. At nearly 200 slides, this wound up being the longest slideshow presentation I ever gave.

The video embed of the presentation is above for your viewing pleasure. The slideshow presentation itself is available in Microsoft Powerpoint.