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Thread: Frustrated planning

  1. #1

    Frustrated planning

    I am frustrated about all of the poor planning around the world. It appear that self interests are victorious!

  2. #2
    Self-interest will never be "victorious", because there is no end to the game. Self-interest will, however, always be the primary driver. In a sense, the land use planning process seeks to raise the collective "self"-interests of the members of the group above the self-interests of individuals. The group's collective "self-interest" is expressed in a "Plan" that seeks to accomplish goals that the group has deemed to be worthy, such as creating/preserving jobs, preserving farmland, protecting wildlife habitat, protecting property values, etc. These goals are sometimes mutually exclusive. The challenge, in my experience, is to craft land use plans that citizens/leaders/politicians believe have a collective benefit that is worth overriding the self-interests of individuals who are seeking to capitalize on their resources (money, land, knowledge) to secure their personal goals. Only then will the group's collective "self interests" take priority. Since the motivation of individuals to capitalize on their resources to achieve success is a manifestation of the basic will to survive, it will remain a constant challenge to defend the group's commitments to shared goals.

    The key is to get leaders who are open to a democratic view of collective "self-interest" as an alternative to the immediate interests of their political cronies. And that requires a political environment where politicians who just support their cronies have to fear losing their jobs when the needs of their cronies obviously undercut the group's collective goals. But even in such an environment, you cannot expect stability in the group definition of collective interest, since it is really just composed of the interests of individuals. The US political scene is constantly being buffeted by the political winds of individualism and collectivism (some would claim the Republicans and Democrats stand for these simple principles, respectively). I would recommend a philosophical approach.

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