The Journal of Politics

Research Article

Governmental Planning at Mid-Century

R. G. Tugwella1 and E. C. Banfielda1

a1 The University of Chicago

In the early eighties of the last century Frederick Winslow Taylor was a young man working in the shops of Midvale Steel. Through a series of accidental changes in a life which might normally have followed a more routine middle-class course, he had become a foreman. He was, however, a new species of that all-important animal. For he did not believe in foremanship, at least of the old-fashioned kind, and almost at once he set out to displace the foreman's rule of thumb with a scientifically arrived at “one-best-way.” He intended to reduce the functions of the shop to clearly and precisely stated locations, quantities of materials, forces applied, motions to be gone through, and output to be expected. These would then be the terms in which a planning office would set out the job to be done. The directions would be precise. And foremen — in the old sense — would be eliminated. He called it, later on, scientific management. Actually it was planning.

Rexford G. Tugwell, who is now Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, has a long background of administrative experience which includes posts such as Undersecretary of Agriculture and Governor of Puerto Rico. He is the author of several widely known books. His associate in this issue, Edward C. Banfield, is Assistant Professor of Planning at the University of Chicago. He has worked for the United States Forest Service, the Farm Security Administration, and the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation. His new book, entitled Government Project, is to be published in May.