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Solved Exercise for Precis writing with Title “Economic Planning and the Socio-Cultural Values” Precis for Class 9, 10, 11, 12 and Higher classes.

Passages with Solved Precis

The necessity of planning for the economic development of an underdeveloped country is almost completely accepted by all thinking persons these days. The difference in opinion arises, however, with respect to the pattern that planning should take. The overwhelming prestige enjoyed by the Soviet Union as the first pioneer in the field of total planning in modern times gives a distorted perspective to thinking about ‘planning’ in other countries of the world. It places an almost exclusive emphasis on one particular pattern and even tends to suggest that there are no alternatives possible at all. It is the task of the intelligentsia to overcome the limitation and to explore the alternative possibilities and make a comparative study of them in terms of the social and economic costs that are incurred and the social and economic welfare that is achieved.

However, even thinkers who have not been blind to the alternative possibilities in the pattern of planning have tended to assume that the relevant effects in terms of which they can be compared are only economic in character. The orientation of planning to the achievement of material ends blinds these thinkers to these or even more important socio-cultural consequences resulting from the introduction of such large-scale causative factors as planning necessarily involves. The neglect of such effects is facilitated by the general lack of any socio-cultural perspective among economists and politicians who are predominantly the persons among whom the plan framers originate. The other factor making for such neglect is the overwhelming importance attached to material values implicit in the very concept of economic planning itself. The planning mentality conceives of the achievement of material ends as self-justifying and as that which justifies everything else. This, as is well know can spell disaster in the lives of individuals. That it can equally do so in the lives of nations to be forgotten by most persons who would not fail to see it in the case of individuals. The Soviet obsession to catch up with America and to surpass it is perhaps the clearest and the most tragic example of such a mentality.

The idea of society as a machine geared to the satisfaction of material needs only is, then, a blasphemy entertained mostly by those who, either by their culture or training, treat them not merely as basic but also as the highest in their scale of values. Economic planning, it should be remembered, does not occur in socio-cultural vacuum. A socio-cultural tradition going back to thousands of years embodying the age-long search of man in different directions pervades so-called under-developed countries which are underdeveloped only in the technical comparative sense of the term. The economic sociologists who have paid any attention to the values embodied in the traditions and institutions of a society have seen them only in terms of their facilitating or hindering the economic development of that society. As economists, perhaps, they could have done nothing else, since the focus of their attention could only be the economic values with which they were concerned. But, as sociologists, this could only be regarded as a blunder on their part since it involves the assumption that the only valid purpose for the socio-cultural institutions is to be an efficient instrument for the achievement of material welfare.

The pattern of economic development as facilitating or retarding the socio-cultural values embodied in the traditions and institutions of a society has seldom been studied by the economists or the sociologists. The influence of technological changes has, of course, been studied by a number of eminent sociologists but a study of the socio-cultural effects of alternate patterns of economic development has been sadly missing from the intellectual horizon. The primary reason for this neglect seems to be the belief that perhaps there are not alternative patterns of planning and that, even if there were, it is the socio-cultural values that must adjust to the exigencies of economic planning rather than economic planning that should adjust to the socio-cultural values when the two be in conflict. That sociologists, as a class, could implicitly accept either of the beliefs revels a distressing lack of critical consciousness about the pre-suppositions that even the scientists so unconsciously accept from the atmosphere around them.


Economic Planning and the Socio-Cultural Values

Social and cultural welfare of the masses should be an important part of the economic planning in a modern state. It is a deplorable idea that the economic advancement of the nation should be the be-all and end-all of a modern Government. Divorced from social and cultural well-being, an economic planning, however substantially sound, will cut little ice. Traditional, social and cultural values, which are deeply rooted in the civilization of the Eastern countries, cannot be totally set aside, while suggesting economic planning. It is a matter of regret that modem economists and sociologists have not assessed the significant values of traditional culture, relating to the economic advancement of the modem nations. As a matter of fact, there can be no conflict between socio-cultural and economic factors. Moving side by side in a process of national advancement and welfare. No economic planning can be really beneficial in making a country great unless it takes into consideration the social and ethical well-being of the nation.


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