Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview
the Urban Coalition and other such enterprises indicates that corporate policy- making maybe beneficent and may coincide with the interests of other groups in society. Furthermore, the corporate policy-makers have some economic limits on their power and they may exercise self-restraint in using their political power.
Implications
There are two sets of implications of this conception of public policy: one relates to the study of politics, and one relates to democratic values. One major implication for political studies has been stated earlier with reference to the problem of nondecisions. Public policy research can be organized around the analysis of what constitutes a particular policy and the determination of who makes the policy. Indeed such a strategy is essential if we accept the validity of the concept of nongovernmental public policy. A second implication concerns the study and importance of policy impact. Impact studies have traditionally related only to the outputs of governments and have assumed that such outputs were the totality of public policy in a given area. The present broader conception of policy, however, alters this focus in two ways. First, the impact of a policy must include the outputs of all the relevant policy-makers--including the nongovernmental policy-makers. Otherwise we will deal only with partial impacts in such areas as health care, transportation, occupational safety, and other fields with a heavy nongovernmental policy component. Second, impact is not a separable sphere of inquiry but rather is a defining characteristic of what constitutes a public policy. Again, although the lines are still blurred, a public policy is any policy whose fundamental impact is a binding allocation of values for a significant segment of society. The final implication relates to the "relevance" of political science. As noted above, David Easton among others argues that extending the concept of public policy beyond the formal government would hopelessly broaden and dilute political science. Yet I would argue that another risk is even more pressing. Limiting the concept of public policy to government policy tends to trivialize political science in that such a narrow concept misses some of the most significant allocations of values for citizens. Furthermore, these nongovernmental allocations are increasingly intertwined with the activities of formal government.60 To factor out only governmental outputs for research thus tends to make policy studies a heuristic exercise divorced from the real world of policy-making and policy impacts. Such a limited concept is analogous to prebehavioral political science, in which the focus was on the legal and formal institutions of government to the exclusion of much of the world of political behavior. Similarly, the challenge now is to analyze public policy-- whatever its source.The second set of implications concerns political accountability and democratic theory. Nongovernmental policy-makers may be benevolent and restrained in their exercise of power. But, as noted by Morton Baratz, "this is hardly a satisfactory arrangement for a society which places a high value on a decentralized power structure. "61 Baratz approvingly cites Peter Drucker who writes, "the important fact about 'enlightened despotism'--also the one fact 'enlightened despots' always forget--is that while it appears as enlightenment to those in power it is despotism pure and simple to those under it."62This last point is at the heart of the problem. We would not countenance a totally nonelected self-perpetuating oligarchy in government merely because many of the policies of that oligarchy were beneficent. Corporations also make public policy. When they do so, however, there is not even the formal accountability to the public that we have in government. The task for scholars and the public alike is to assess the amount of public policy that is privately made and to formulate ways of limiting such policy-making power--or at least of making it more accountable.
NOTES
1. Policy Studies Journal, 1 (Autumn 1972), 2.

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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