PLANNING AND GROWTH

AuthorE. Devons
Publication Date01 February 1965
Date01 February 1965
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.1965.tb00748.x
PLANNING AND GROWTH
E.
DEVONS
DURING the last few years problems
of
economic growth have
progressively come to occupy a central place both in academic
economics and in discussion of economic policy. Nearly all countries,
whether rich or poor, under-developed or advanced have become
concerned, some might say obsessed, with their growth rates and their
ranking in international league tables of rates of increase of GNP
per head. It has long been argued that planning has an important
role to play in the growth of under-developed countries; but the idea
of planning as important for growth in advanced countries is quite
recent, and largely the result
of
French experience. It is this experi-
ence, together with disappointment at the continuing recurrence of
balance of payments crises which has led to a resurgence in the
United Kingdom of the discussion of the role
of
planning.
It is particularly valuable, therefore, to have collected together
Professor Wilson’s essays on this subject,’ many previously published,
but some, including the first and longest, after which the book takes
its title, produced here for the first time. The essays cover a wide
range of topics, but there is more of a central theme than is common
in collections of this kind.
Professor Wilson discusses the relevance
of
the experience
of
Rus-
sian, British war-time experience, and French planning to planning in
under-developed and advanced economies. In this discussion he draws
a distinction between action by the state ‘to ensure that the general
economic environment is favourable to growth
and the Govern-
ment proposing ‘a certain rate of growth for total output
. .
.
and
rates of growth for particular industries’. Although action by the
State of the first kind is accepted in principle by most economists,
there is by no means agreement on the particular measures desirable.
Taxation measures to encourage investment innovation and hard
work, more extensive education, improved transport facilities, en-
couragement of zones
of
growth in the older industrial areas (see
the essay on
Regional Policies and Growth
’),
assistance in applying
scientific research both in industry and agriculture, are all given as
examples by Professor Wilson of growth policies under the first
heading. But there is room for plenty of disagreement on the relative
importance of each of these and the way in which they should be
Tom
Wilson,
Planning
and
Growth
(London,
Macmillan,
1964),
pp.
207
+xi.
105

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