Thursday, March 11, 2010

Use and Misuse of Development Model.

It is the triumph of technological and academic advancement that we have today,'models' for all sorts of planned change. We develop models for economic development. social change, housing, infrastructural improvement etc, etc. They take the form of ideational and physical/structural plans which chart out the course of future actions to be pursued , incorporating all the goals and ideals espoused by society at any point of time.

A model for any planned change is normally developed after an extended period of discussions both before and after the ideals and concepts are laid down on paper, captured and condensed as a plan or blue print. Even after the plan or blue-print is finalized it will be thoroughly examined and discussed for any weakness and deficiency, by professionals, public officials and the people who will be affected at large.

Why? Because a model, a plan or a blue-print sets out both what will be done and what will not be done. It includes certain things and excludes others, as a precondition for giving emphasis and priorities to what must be done. Provisions are NOT MADE for anything unexpected or unanticipated in the model, plan or blue-print.

Therein lies the danger since we know that human society is a biological, a social and a political entity. Change something, even the positioning of a fish-market and lots of other changes will take place. The DEB brought a number of changes, both desired and not so desirable or even objected to. The Rahman Talib education policy for example, brought a number of desirable and undesirable changes that we are trying to deal with even today. Some social changes as we know are just irreversible or intractable. The DEB has changed our society as much as the new political order. Are we very happy with all the results: both anticipated and unanticipated?

The desired results are most welcome and gratifying. They indicate the success of the model or plan. But what about the undesirable, unexpected, unanticipated and unacceptable consequences of which there are many and form the basis of current public dissatisfaction, anger and resentment. Since they had not been anticipated, are we prepared to deal with them? To do so we often require a new model, a new plan or a new blued print.

But the new plan or model,be it economic, social or political in nature, will face the same problem, if not thoroughly discussed. tested, adjusted and fine-tuned before a full iaunch. It will solve certain problems but raise many others never anticipated or identified and expected, if the plan or model was again not thoroughly examined, discussed and tried on a small scale, before full implementation. If these problems can be identified early through the trial run, provisions can be made to counter the negative results. Otherwise, the plan or model can raise very high expectations, meet with several more unanticipated complications or inconsistencies, and set off undesirable and irreversible consequences.

As such adhering to the plan or model, without provisions for leeways. adjustments and countermeasures in case of meeting insurmountable impediments or cul-de- sac, could constitute a misuse of a plan or model with highly deleterious results. Hence a model should have some flexibility and safety valves for salvation if it doesn't work. Pushing through an ill-conceived model would be courting disaster.


rambomadonna said...

Your writings made me "pressured" pulak whether our proposal and action plans discussed in my LAB with cause desirable and undesirable changes or not.

Anyway, I always believe that we should have a framework in form of models or masterplans to set the direction of our development. No doubt some parties will oppose to it especially if it do not benefit them but we couldn't please everyone.

norzah said...

Sure, we must plan, use models and draw up blue-prints, J. The quarrel is against producing a model and
implementing it w/o thorough discussion and testing.
May solve ten problems but create 100 hehehe. People now tend to go for heuristic model rather than pure economic formulation.