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New Left Review I/24, March-April 1964

Barbara Castle

The Lessons of French Planning

Two-and-a-half years ago in The New Statesman, I attempted to answer the question: Is French planning a miracle or a myth? At that time comparatively little was known in this country about the details or achievements of the French planning experiment—for the very good reason that planning was still in Britain a dirty political word. But with the Tories’ conversion to planning as the only means of securing sustained growth, all that has changed. The political argument in Britain now centres round the question: can planning for growth be made to work without creating its own inflationary pressures and, if so how farreaching must it be? How far can it be imposed on a dominantly capitalist economy without undermining the incentives which make it work?

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