Public Policy-Making Process Public Policy Term Paper

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The pluralist school is believed to have best "captured the dynamics of the bargaining process among different interest groups trying to influence the policy process, and between these groups and policy makers (Lindblom and Woodhouse, 1993; as cited by Rosetti, 1999) in the view of Lindblom and Woodhouse the limitations that exist in terms of limitations on knowledge is readily available during the electoral process in the U.S. These authors believe that public policy making by the mass public is unrealistic because so many people are unlikely to come to any agreement however the elected officials often lose touch with the pulse of the voters. The bureaucratic system which is responsible for implementation of the policies that have been developed is that which keeps check on elected officials. The Bureaucrats have more experience in the policy function and actually end up in the role of policy maker when the elected officials have either intentionally or unintentionally set policies that are vague, and sometimes with the intent of protection of special interests.

Assessment of the Process Using the Thesis of Lindblom and Woodhouse

External forces are the special interest groups and businesses. Lindblom and Woodhouse believe that the most "extra governmental obstruction to democratic, intelligent steering of society is the business sector's influence over public policy. Since private enterprise and democracy have been somewhat inseparable in the U.S. The business groups receive more consideration from the policy-makers in the government than do other groups. Stated is: "Business people usually exercise control without great expenditure of attention of deliberation. They simply operate under circumstances in which both they and government officials know that continued performance depends on business indulgences, benefits, privileges, and incentives." [p.95] Also stated by Lindblom and Woodhouse is: "They warn about " the pernicious effects [of] political inequality" on the policy making process and, "especially the possibility that policy ideas are systematically misshaped by the pro-business cultures of market-oriented democracies."

Stated to be another example of the ineffective process of democracy is the imbalanced state of equality in the current democratic system which includes social inequality but also includes equality to participate. If democracy is to be truly effective then the citizenry must be both active and responsive. Inequality exists due to the difference in individual ability in processing and use of information. Educational and social conditioning favors the 'elite' leaving the largest part of society with the tendency to never question that which fundamentally underpins society therefore keeping them aligned with the issues that are smaller, less important and easier to understand. In fact, there is very little disagreement on the larger issues, and so little that it appears as nonexistent but yet is significant and still so many fail or are kept from delving any deeper into that which actually puts them at a disadvantage in society.

The argument of Lindblom and Woodhouse is that: "The ability of every contemporary democracy to probe social problems and policy options is systematically crippled, undermining both the extent of democracy and the degree of intelligence brought to bear in policy making." Lindblom and Woodhouse (1992) Emphasize that the policy-making role of individual and challenges the assumption that those who are the 'elite' among political groups and the professionals among the policy-makers are the other ones viable for making policy. Lindblom and Woodhouse propose among other things that ideas become more competitive and that analysis should be partisan and yet be through a process that is inclusive of as many votes as possible. Analysis should be structured around a framework that acknowledges that uncertainty is always present, while this does not mean risk and should be for the purpose of quality improvement of interactions that are politically-based. Finally since analysis doesn't have a requirement for conclusiveness but instead requires plausibility then Lindblom and Woodhouse hold that specific proposals should be the focus of the analysis instead of issues. Finally analysis should assist in avoiding of mistakes and should promote flexibility and responsiveness in the process of policy-making.


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