Social Planning and Ethics
We shall proceed with the definition of planning gradually, step by step, from general to more specific. The resulting differences in major types of planning are not a consequence of an abstract exercise. The types are related to major patterns that were practiced by planners and decision makers of our century.
The major dilemma is the problem of ends and means: considerations of efficiency versus ethical-moral, normative considerations (normative boundaries) in choice of means. In its very essence it is a problem of social control by use of force and coercion, on one hand, and freedom, or various degrees of free associations, on the other.
Strategy and tactics constitute the art of achieving goals effectively. Planning, social economic planning, is nothing else but a specific type of strategy. It is governed by the same principles as strategy is. It faces similar problems. The structure of goals is similar, since it is the same major pattern of achieving objectives. Planning is a rational and economic way of achieving goals: by means of least effort, with a minimal or optimal allocation of resources in optimal time necessary for efficient achievement of goals. It is above all a choice of adequate means in order to achieve desired ends.
Planning is an art akin (but not equivalent) to science. The function of the scientific method is an intellectual economy and concentration of intellectual effort with the purpose of achieving valid and verifiable results. Thus maximizing efficiency in goal achievement with a minimum of allocation of resources and effort is a component of planning. Principles of economy of effort and expenditure are not sufficient, however seminal they may be. The concept, or at least a major category of social planning, is identified with public interest, with the welfare of underprivileged, with assistance to the needy, with protection of the exploited. It is considered a beneficial activity. In such context and within this narrowed-