The Shaping Of Public Policy

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Annals Of The American Academy Of Political And Social Science


"The Shaping of Public Policy" might be con strued as the public shaping of policy—reflecting concern about the republican or democratic or popular aspects of constitutional government in the U.S. One must ask what tendencies may shape fundamentally the shaping of policy in the nation's third century. Ten such tendencies are: environmental constraint, the modem mixed economy, the changing international order, postindustrial society, changing political values and ideologies, modern mass communica tions, urban society, the growing density and changing balance of federalism, the modern administrative state, and the changing character of public policy. Popular soverneignty, the people's ability to control government, is a useful rubric under which to consider democratic conditions for shaping public policy. The party system is critical in effectuating popular sovereignty. Other concerns are the role of interest groups, political and civic participation, and elections. Re quirements of popular sovereignty culminate constitutionally in policy shaping by responsible officials: Congress and the president. Our ways of shaping policy are as subject to constructive change through public understanding as through legislative actions or constitutional amendments.

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