Rules for Radical Thinking

by Harry on May 8, 2007

Erik Olin Wright has a nice short piece on his website forthcoming in the UK left-of-centre magazine Soundings, called Guidelines for Envisioning Real Utopias. It is a very useful outline and discussion of the rules we ought to observe when trying to come up with better institutional alternatives to the status quo, viz:

1. Evaluate alternatives in terms of three criteria: desirability, viability, achievability.
2. Do not let the problem of achievability dictate the discussion of viability.
3. Clarify the problem of winners and losers in structural transformation.
4. Identify normative trade-offs in institutional designs and the transition costs in their creation.
5. Analyze alternatives in terms of waystations and intermediary forms as well as destinations. Pay particular attention to the potential of waystations to open up virtuous cycles of transformation.

Although any of our readers will find it interesting, I especially recommend it to, and request comment from, the political philosophers and theorists who think of themselves as doing, or interested in, non-ideal theory.