Stone on political ideas


in Politics, Psychology

This model of policy making as rational problem solving can’t explain why sometimes policy solutions go looking for problems. It can’t tell us why solutions such as deregulation turn into problems for the very groups they were meant to help. Most important, the production model fails to capture what I see as the essence of policy making in political communities: the struggle over ideas. Ideas are a medium of exchange and a mode of influence even more powerful than money and votes and guns. Shared meanings motivate people to action and meld individual striving into collective action. All political conflict revolves around ideas. Policy making, in turn, is a constant struggle over the criteria for classification, the boundaries of categories, and the definition of ideals that guide the way people behave.

Stone, Deborah. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making: Third Edition. 2012. p. 13 (paperback)

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