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I was reading a book on Indian Economy where I found the following lines:

“Planning under a democratic system may be defined as the technical co-ordination, by disinterested experts of consumption, production, investment, trade and income distribution, in accordance with social objectives set by bodies representative of the nation. Such planning is not only to be considered from the point of view of economics and the raising of the standard of living but must include cultural and spiritual and the human side of life”

Note the bolded words "disinterested experts".

What is the significance of the word? Why is planning coordinated by "disinterested experts"?

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"Interest" in this context refers to the notion of ownership or financial stake, not to curiosity or attention. Someone who holds an interest in a company or asset has invested in it, and stands to make money depending on how it performs. A person who is disinterested does not have a personal financial stake in the repercussions of their decisions. This is preferable for public policy, since individual desires shouldn't affect decisions made for the public at large - you would not want an individual heavily invested in the oil industry to be in charge of setting environmental regulations, for example, since their decision making will be affected by their own personal interests. A disinterested expert, on the other hand, is free from the conflict of interest, and can make decisions based solely on what's best for the public.

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In this context, the meaning would be that the experts have nothing to gain personally from their planning decisions, but that they are working at the behest of the elected officials to achieve the social objectives upon which those officials were elected.

To what extent this arrangement can occur in practice is a question worth asking in my opinion, but hopefully you can understand what is meant by the text.

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  • $\begingroup$ To what extent this arrangement can occur in practice is a question worth asking in my opinion, It would still be very helpful if you explain that without having the question asked. $\endgroup$
    – Gary 2
    Apr 25, 2023 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ Not exactly sure what you're asking here, but I think that Nuclear Hoagie has answered your question very well. $\endgroup$
    – A. Miller
    Apr 25, 2023 at 20:52

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