Targets, plans, quotas ... and lies

One of the great discoveries of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was that the worst examples of planning were in systems founded on central planning. In fact, they couldn't plan at all. They were so centralised and hamstrung by targets, five-year plans and quotas that bore no relation to what was achievable that, firstly, people lied that the targets, plans and quotas had been achieved and, secondly, they spent so much time lying about them that there was little time left in which to achieve the objectives behind the targets, plans and quotas. Attempting to plan too much, they ended up planning too little and delivering a lot less.

by Dr Tim Williams, chief executive of CPR Regeneration. Email:

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