In planning the use of its resources a company may be supposed to conceive a number of rival schemes, and to form for each of them some ideas of what would follow the adoption of that scheme. In general such ideas concerning any one scheme might compose a single-line history-to-come of the company’s affairs, that is to say, a history which gives no more than one answer to any question. Or, the ideas may lead to the forming, for each scheme, of a number of rival imagined sequels. Here, uniqueness of the envisaged sequel of a scheme, on one hand, and the readiness to study a plurality of rival sequels, on the other, make very different demands on the planner. If an unique history-to-come is validly to occupy by itself his thoughts of what some one scheme may lead to, the logical need is that every rival sequel that the planner imagines or might imagine be excluded, in his thought, by some discerned fatal obstacle residing in the posture and nature of things. By contrast, the readiness to originate and to examine critically a number of mutually rival suppositions about the sequel of any use of the company’s resources calls only for the exclusion, in a final audit, of those suppositions to which the planner discerns a fatal obstacle.
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- To Cope with Time
G. L. S. Shackle
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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