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The Democratic Economy of Public Utility Commissions

Regulation has long been defined in terms of damage control. This article argues for a need to expand this focus to include proactive principles for achieving society’s goals. An approach to democratizing the economy should rest on two key principles: (1) that private interests should fundamentally serve the public interest and (2) that regulation should be an instrument for democratic decision-making. The American model of the public utility commission (PUC) offers a way forward.

Originally published in openDemocracy, September 8, 2009,