T h e war had been planned and planned successfully, so i t appeared. W h y then, it was asked, should planning prove any less successful in peace?
It was a question that was much debated in the early post-war years. Speeches, pamphlets and books abounded in expositions of the virtues or failures of economic planning, often w i th o u t any clear account of wha t distinguished planning from non-planning . 1 Before the war it had usually been identified w i t h the system of economic management in the U S S R and it was still associated in popular th inking w i th the compulsions and cruelties of the Soviet regime. On the other hand, there was widespread concern that if the economy were left unregulated and unplanned, it migh t undergo a repetit ion of the inter-war depression. W a r t i m e experience seemed to show that full employment was attainable w i t h no more than limited and acceptable restraints on individual freedom. At the same t ime, there were obvious difficulties ahead in the transition to peace that seemed unlikely to disappear if the state held itself aloof bu t might yield to the kind of action in which only the state could engage. So past experience
and immediate prospects united in commending a much expanded role for government intervention. In wha t sense that role meant economic planning , and wha t the purposes and machinery of such planning should be, were questions that few stopped to pursue.