It is almost impossible to
discuss new government policy proposals without first explaining them in terms
of costs and benefits. This is because costs and benefits do not easily fit in
the traditional idea of the public interest. Also,it’s believed the public interest is morally
above such narrow economic criteria. Equally important, when a public interest
claim succeeds in meeting the cost benefit test, it is usually difficult to measure
the outcome in terms of monetary value.
Looking at the enactment of
historically significant legislation, we find that shared values are mostly the
forces behind both the interest groups and social movements that struggle to
achieve it. Examples include; Budget Transparency and Accountability Act,
Pawnbrokers Act, and the Sex Offenders Registry Act.Consider the passage of the Access to
Education Act. In the middle 1800s, schools opened and closed as new
communities sprouted or as local economies collapsed. Sometimes early school
closures were prompted by parents who resisted sending their children to school
and the persistent refusal of some families prevented schools in some
communities to be re-opened.
As years elapsed and more
settlers began to send their children to public school and high school,
education required a certain standard set by the public school system. People
expected to have better opportunities for work based on educational standards.
Beyond the broad sweeps
of historical change, there is evidence that show the importance of ideas in
the ordinary course of public affairs. This shows that people don’t act simply
on the basis of their perceived self-interest. In fact, over the past 30 years,
a good deal of support, reinforce the contention that ideas and values can be
relatively autonomous of interests and institutions. However, it is never easy
to sort out these influences. The values of individuals can arise independently
of their life experience and can exert an independent influence on their
Here are some examples.
People’s attitudes toward war are found to be influenced by their general views
on foreign policy than by their experiences of war or military service.
Similarly, opinion surveys show that businessmen’s attitudes towards foreign
policy and military defence better correlate with their political ideas rather
than with how closely their entrepreneurial activities are involved with
defence or defence-related production. Counter-intuitively, being out of a job
has less effect on people’s political values and actions than do their
attitudes toward unemployment. Such findings show that in addition to acting to
maximize personal self-interest, people also strive to achieve social and
Because politics is
grounded in disputes about the good life and the means of realizing it, policy
politics by its nature centres on controversial ideas and beliefs about the
best course of action.
The most important thing
to remember is that the citizens has a major influence in deciding which
policies are the most important.