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Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese
The author argues that wide-ranging state control hinders the development of Third World economies. Indeed, it generates and heightens political tensions (often between ethnic groups) by diverting resources into the pursuit of government favour, and so renders whole populations largely dependent on the state for their well-being. State control is still defended as necessary to achieve the goals of comprehensive central planning. Its advocates put forward a number of arguments, ranging from the very general and vague to the more specific (namely, the so-called market failures). By closely examining many of them – often only ad hoc rationalisations – the author shows that the problems that planning is meant to solve can be better tackled by other means, and that planning does little more than concentrate power in the hands of public sector employees and their clients.