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If you can forget for a while the melodrama of local and international politics, which makes it unlikely that the sweet reasonableness of professors will prevail, Professor Hansen's notable collection of recent papers is reassuring reading. And even if you are a complete pessimist about the shape of things to come, you should find a wistful pleasure in his picture of what might be, or what might have been, in the democratic world. For Full Recovery or Stagnation? belongs with and substantially supplements the recent barrage of tracts defending the faiths of democracy. In most of those books the political or moral argument for democracy is weakened by a vague fatalism about the future of the economic system. Some lack economic analysis altogether; others accept or advance a variant of the proposition that the capitalist economy as we have known it is dead, and must be replaced by a regime of "planning." In either case the pamphleteers treat the economic side of the problem of democracy briefly and ambiguously, some without much concern for the more authoritarian implications of the slogan of "planning." But Hansen considers the economics of capitalism with persuasive concreteness. What he says is that our brand of capitalism has not necessarily met its day of judgment: it follows that praise of political democracy is not yet idle talk.
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