In this chapter, four alternative approaches to the analysis of economics and planning are outlined. Economics, as a discipline, is concerned with the allocation and accumulation of resources, mainly in the context of a capitalist, market economy. The alternative approaches take different views on the process of allocation and accumulation, identifying different foci for analysis and making different judgements on the outcomes of contemporary processes. This means that each approach suggests a rather different role for the planning system in terms of the policy goals that can be achieved, the policy tools that may be appropriate and the central issue of the relationship of planning activity to the pattern of economic inequality.
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