Futility of Development Planning
Managerial and administrative competence, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation. The dominant role of these capabilities in the economies of the truly developed countries is undeniable, and the consequence of their scarcity is glaring in the Western-style economies of the PUCs (persistently underdeveloped countries).
Nonetheless, PUC governments, the World Bank, IMF and other donors regularly draw up rosy, idealistic development plans designed to to create modern industry and create opportunity, grow the economy, or to extend the effectiveness of government. In the process, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent over many decades. Needless to say, these plans have failed, and underdevelopment remains persistent.
We find in development plans the same mistake found in the theories of Development Economics. They assume that the managerial and entrepreneurial effectiveness (or resonance) needed to execute the plan is as widely available in the PUCs as in the developed countries. Failure is therefore guaranteed because the assumption is false. This is the fatal flaw of development theories. They are not relevant, much less effective, until managerial competence (resonance) is present and growing in the country of interest. Without effective managerial leadership, the models constructed from the theories of Development Economics are unworkable and collapse in the real world. And where such effectiveness exists, development theory is redundant tautology. A development theory or development plan that does not address managerial effectiveness is a recipe for disappointment and failure.
From this perspective, the only purpose of development theory is to address the scarcity of managerial effectiveness. Any theory that fails to do this is a feel-good, stop-gap measure that will ultimately fail in practice, much less endure.
Samuel A. Odunsi, Sr.