Conclusion: Governance, Choice and History

  • Glen O’Hara


Planning reflected a broader ‘culture’ or mood, and its failings were all the more agonizing for that. ‘Culture can never be wholly conscious’, T.S. Eliot had written while reflecting on the 1940s movement towards artistic planning: ‘there is always more to it than we are conscious of… It is… the unconscious background of all our planning’.1 That ‘unconscious background’ constituted the unspoken assumptions of the early 1960s, the intertwined emphasis on science, technology, modernisation, national competitiveness, efficiency and progress. These amounted to what Aaron Wildavsky called ‘a secular faith… not so much a matter for the social scientist as for the theologian’.2 Some authors label this complex of ideas ‘high modernism’, a view of the world at once positivistic, linear and rational, celebrating the machine and coping with constant change by embracing it and turning it to the ends of ‘creative destruction’.3 It was secular, urban, and characterised by a high level of technical and economic specialisation .4 The failure of planning brought that complex of beliefs into question: it was an inevitably painful process.


Competition Policy Shadow Economy National Competitiveness Urban Programme High Modernism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948), p. 94.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Wildavsky, ‘If Planning is Everything, Maybe It’s Nothing’, Policy Sciences 4 (1973), pp. 151, 153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    D. Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Inquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford, 1989), pp. 35–6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    D. Lyon, Postmodernity (1994), pp. 23–7.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, ‘Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases’, Science 185 (1974), pp. 1128–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 9.
    P. Whitehead, The Writing on the Wall: Britain in the Seventies (1985), pp. 143–5.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    A. King, ‘Overload: Problems of Governing in the 1970s’, Political Studies 23 (1975), pp. 288–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 15.
    M.D. Cohen, J.G. March and J.P. Olsen, ‘A Garbage Can Model of Organisational Choice’, Administrative Science Quarterly 17 (1972), pp. 16–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 17.
    R. Rose, ‘The Market for Policy Indicators’, in A. Shonfield and S. Shaw (eds), Social Indicators and Social Policy (1972), pp. 124–36.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    F. von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1962 edn.), p. 46.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    R. Goodman, After the Planners (Harmondsworth, 1972), pp. 34–5, 42, 236–8, 246.Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    C. Bell, A World Out of Balance: American Ascendancy and International Politics in the 21 st Century (Double Bay, Aus., 2003), p. 236.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    H. Heclo, Modern Social Politics in Britain and Sweden (New Haven, Conn., 1974), p. 287.Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    J.C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, Conn., 1998), p. 328.Google Scholar
  15. 32.
    D.W. Ewing, The Human Side of Planning: Tool or Tyrant? (New York, 1969), pp. 27, 32–9.Google Scholar
  16. 34.
    M. Argyle, ‘Subjective Well-Being’, in A. Offer (ed.), In Pursuit of the Quality of Life (Oxford, 1996), pp. 39–40.Google Scholar
  17. 35.
    R. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles Among Western Publics (Princeton, NJ, 1977), pp. 285–6.Google Scholar
  18. 36.
    M. Francis, ‘Economics and Ethics: The Nature of Labour’s Socialism 1945–1951’, Twentieth Century British History 6 (1995), p. 235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 39.
    H. Nehring, ‘“Westernization”: A New Paradigm for Interpreting West European History in a Cold War Context’, Cold War History 4 (2004), pp. 176–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 40.
    H. Mercer, Constructing a Competitive Order: The Hidden History of British Anti-Trust Policies (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 86–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 41.
    C.D. McKenna, ‘The World’s Newest Profession: Management Consulting in the Twentieth Century’, Enterprise and Society 2 (2001), pp. 675–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 45.
    F. Carnevali, ‘State Enterprise and Italy’s “Economic Miracle”: The Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi,1945–1962’, Enterprise and Society 1 (2000), pp. 249–55, 273–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Glen O’Hara 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glen O’Hara
    • 1
  1. 1.Oxford Brookes UniversityUK

Personalised recommendations