Ceiling Without Beams [Archives:2000/20/Focus]

May 15 2000

By: Najma Ali
The issue of economic development has at present occupied the position of precedence and is given top priority. This is so because it poses the most important and difficult problem facing the countries groaning under the yoke of economic backwardness, with all misery and deprivation that it represents.
Economic planning as a means for channeling the society’s material and human resources to attain objectives of economic development and social justice, is a modern doctrine originally going back to the socialist countries’ experiment in the early 20th century.It is an undeniable factor for achieving development.
It is commonly known that forms of economic planning vary according to the type of the economic and political system pursued by this country or that.
By analyzing the ways the countries follow in their pursuit of the goal of realizing the economic planning, one would come to the conclusion that some countries follow the policy of convincing and direction via financial and monetary policies to achieve economic planning and its goals. Some other countries, however, draw up a national comprehensive plan designed by a central institution undertaking the task of organizing the economic resources, both individual and collective.
As far as the countries adopting mixed economy are concerned they run an in-between policy in using the economic resources.
A wide range of terminologies comes under the heading of planning. There are terms on planning pertaining to personnel, administrative, centralized and decentralized, partial and comprehensive systems and a number of others. The question is what is meant by these terms? Are they meant to denote the comprehensive economic planning that includes all economic sectors? Such a concept is known to be adopted by developing countries as a major means for orienting their capabilities towards the achievement of development and justice.
We have to comprehend the implications of economic development and whether it is the process of transferring the national economy from the state of backwardness to that of advancement leading to self-reliance in development. And here we have to take into consideration the fact that the process of transfer necessitates deep and radical changes in all available means of production. Besides, it is also a fact that realization of economic development in any society requires, as a fundamental condition, an increase in the average per capita income in the country. Hence, the process of economic development is closely related to that of economic planning because it is one of the methods capable of achieving the process of comprehensive economic development. So, generally speaking, we can presume that planning is a collection of certain arrangements and regulations chosen to accomplish certain national objective at a definite period of time. Planning, therefore, represents a civilized, practical and positive means whose function terminates in achieving comprehensive economic and social development.