Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXX
SOCIAL PLANNING

Objectives of Social Planning . We may introduce the subject of social planning with two representative viewpoints, one embodying a rather practical application as set forth in a popular way by Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York, and the other the technical teleology of Lester F. Ward. Says Governor Smith: "We cannot ever again permit the future growth of the State to be accidental. It must be planned to serve the interests of every man, woman, and child and to give opportunity for a fuller and finer life, and not for the benefit of privileged groups. The planning of communities and the planning of the State is probably the greatest undertaking we have before us." The more academic concept of social planning was perhaps inaugurated by Lester F. Ward in his recognition of the need for social guidance. As Professor Dealey interprets Ward in our American Masters of Social Science, "Social control in its highest manifestation becomes social or collective telesis. Telesis implies that the social ends to be attained are well known and that the ways and means whereby the ends may be obtained have been scientifically ascertained." ProfessorWard's telesis is likened to the architect's plan together with the builder's work. Thus Ward's telic process was very closely related to the subject of social progress which we shall study in a later chapter. On the one hand Ward's telic motion struck hard at the old laissez faire and on the other it transcended the slow, wasteful, natural, evolutionary processes of society. "Society," he maintained, "should not drift aimlessly to and fro, backwards and forwards, without guidance. Rather, the group should carefully study its situations, comprehend the aims it desires to accomplish, study scientifically the best methods for the attainment of these, and then concentrate social energy to the task set before it." In between this practical concept of material planning and Ward's concept of mental and social achievement has developed the whole modern field of social planning.

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