Planning Approach to Economic Policy Formation
[fre] pas faire oublier l'importance de l'information de base sans laquelle les travaux de planification risqueraient de perdre toute consistance. [eng] Confronted with the rise in the price of oil and the increase in new competition, the « invisible hand » of automatic market mechanism will not suffice in reducing the economic maladjustments of the developed countries. The concept of economic planning existed long before the technical capabilities to implement it became available : economic model building, development of computers, and above all the création of the requisite data bases now readily available. There is still considerable progress to be made in incorporating technical information and social statistics. The planner cannot take the place of the policy maker by defining a priori an ideal world by means of a collective social utility function. Nor should the functioning of the economy be considered to result from finding the solution to a complex more or less formal game. The construction of a plan is more a question of elaborating on a number of alternative scenarios, thereby allowing a better understanding of the économic aspirations of the various interest groups, and providing feasible alternatives among which the government can choose. In any case, the need to turn to sophisticated economic instruments should not make us forget the importance of the factual data base without which planning loses all coherency.
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