Full text: Study week on the econometric approach to development planning

sibility of concentrating all information at some central point 
and in believing that all decisions can sensibly be taken at this 
point. The difficulties that follow this approach are increas- 
ingly recognised in centrally planned economies and the na- 
tural dialectical process may be expected to produce a better 
balance between the centre and the periphery. 
The second reaction has the merit of recognising the fact 
that different decisions belong to different centres. Its short- 
comings, which derive largely from the partial abandonment 
of one coherent political philosophy without the acceptance of 
a new one, lie in an exaggerated notion of the usefulness of 
modifying some part of a system while ignoring the others: 
specific acts are justified in terms of the necessity to do so- 
mething in the area concerned and of the immediate effects 
intended. The bad consequences of this kind of sporadic plan- 
ning are becoming every day more obvious, but it is not yet 
realised that the more one tries to plan a system without stu- 
dying it as a whole, the less one is likely to succeed. 
Thus it is a mistake to associate planning with collectivism 
and antiplanning with private ownership. We should make 
better progress if we thought in terms of good planning and 
bad planning, that is, of functional and unfunctional design. 
In other words, having agreed on what the system is sup- 
posed to do, we should make sure that the operating controls 
are designed so as to get it done. If we look at planning from 
this point of view, we are likely to discover that the key pro- 
blems of economic organisation are the following. 
First, the administrative machinery, public and private, 
which has grown up historically will often exhibit cases where 
a given function is duplicated and cases where a given function 
is simply not performed or where the arrangements for per- 
forming it are unsatisfactory. An example of this in Britain 
is the large number of agencies, both public and private, 
concerned in one way or another with the problems of redun- 
dancy and retraining: obviously this part of the administrative 
1] Stone - pag. 24

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