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The Engineer as Planner


    IN an article entitled “The Engineer as Planner“reprinted by Engineering Inspection of January 1935, Dr. Victor Cofman emphasises the fact that the important factor in the solution of economic and social problems is the application of the spirit and methods of engineering and science to the wider field of human relations, not the particular person who does it. While everyone agrees that the planning of production is the obvious duty of the engineer, opinions are divided as to how far the engineer can help in the social and economic fields, and it is often pointed out that eminent engineers and men of science do not show particular perspicacity or vision when dealing with social problems. It is essential that those who will have to consider social questions must have a full knowledge of the pertinent facts, and it may be necessary under existing conditions to have a team consisting of sociologists and economists, practical men acquainted with the problems, working together with engineers and men of science acquainted with the methods of science. The opponents of planning take it for granted that planning is synonymous with greater restriction upon individual freedom, but one may plan for freedom and peace just as one may plan for oppression and war. The true opposition is not between planning and liberty, but between arbitrary interference and liberty.

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