It is customary nowadays to speak of "social engineering." Like planning, this term is a synonym for dictatorship and totalitarian tyranny. The idea is to treat human beings in the same way in which the engineer treats the stuff out of which he builds his bridges, roads, and machines. The social engineer's will is to be substituted for the will of the various people he plans to use for the construction of his utopia. Mankind is to be divided into two classes: the almighty dictator, on the one hand, and the underlings who are to be reduced to the status of mere pawns in his plans and cogs in his machinery, on the other. If this were feasible, then of course the social engineer would not have to bother about understanding other people's actions. He would be free to deal with them as technology deals with lumber and iron. (p. 113)These days it seems we hear politicians talking about this plan and that, and President Obama seems to take pride in all his plans. What do you think, does Mises characterize our planning President accurately?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The President & His Plans
Ludwig von Mises on social engineering and planning: