Indicative Planning in Practice
France, the birth-place of indicative planning, provides the most enduring example of planning for a market economy. In 1976 the Seventh Plan was unveiled with a target rate of growth of 5.5 – 6 per cent p.a. The plan aims to create 1.1 million jobs, to reduce inflation below 6 per cent, to remove the balance-of-payments deficit and to make a number of improvements on the social front. The Sixth Plan (1971–5) was characterised by the sophisticated techniques used in its preparation, the plan itself stressing competitiveness with particular emphasis on industrial growth but also including social objectives. The Fifth Plan (1966–70) was notable for the attempt to introduce value planning (i.e. to reconcile physical and financial flows), the reduction in the number of targets and the introduction of plan-monitoring devices. The Fourth Plan (1962–5) saw the introduction of social-investment and regional-policy objectives, was technically sophisticated and contained considerable detail (in physical targets). It was the Fourth Plan which attracted attention in other West European countries, notably the United Kingdom. The Third Plan (1958–61) can be regarded as the first real attempt at a coherent national economic plan although a step in this direction had taken place in the Second Plan (1954–7), which represented a considerable extension of the plan from the few key sectors of the First (Monnet) Plan.
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