This paper argues that economists need to start a proper discussion on the theory of planning. I also suggest some elements that the theory might contain, based on my practical experience as a government planner in the Greater London Authority and via my earlier consultancy work as a data analyst in corporate planning.
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There are several reasons for such a discussion. First, it is necessary to dispel many widespread myths about planning, mostly generated by neoclassical economists whose purpose is to discredit it.
Second, technology has seen enormous changes since the last century, qualitatively improving processing power, communication speeds and data storage capacity, leading to innovations, such as the web, BI, and AI, all unheard of in the era of Soviet planning. These changes make it possible to conceive of innovations in the ‘technology of administration’ which transform its nature.
Third, there is growing evidence that the market is failing Russia in key areas, especially investment; actual growth at 1.8% falls well short of potential growth at 4.8%.
Fourth, and controversially, the paper argues that planning, conceived of properly, extends democracy and adds to freedom, provided it is organised to place key decisions in the hands of ordinary people.
The entry consists of the finalised paper which was published in Экономическое возрождение России №3 (61) 2019 (Ekonomicheskoye vozrozhdeniye Rossii, ‘Economic Revival of Russia’) №3 (61) 2019 as part of the proceedings of the Moscow Academic Economic Forum (MAEF), held in conjunction with the Russian Academy of Science and Moscow State University, April 18-19, 2019