Power and Policy making
Who’s in charge here? Who influences or controls the policies that shape our lives? How do they exercise power over public decision-making, and how are the values that underlie public policy agendas determined? Given that power can be exercised in ways that are subtle and not easily observed, how can we say that power, in a modern capitalist democracy, is being applied? This essay addresses these questions by critically evaluating concepts and theories of political power and analyzing the exercise of power in specific policy areas. The essay revolves around three questions central to the study of public policy: Who controls the public policy process, and who benefits from it? How is that control exercised? (How do specific groups or interests achieve, or seek to achieve, the policy outcomes they desire?) What is the nature of the public policy process?
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