A Political Values Perspective
The key insight at the heart of a political values perspective is that policy is an integral part of politics, and as such is about juggling conflicting societal values. Values express a conception of desirable outcomes for a society and present decision makers with choices which inevitably prioritize one value or set of values over others. Acknowledging the political nature of the policy process means acknowledging its essential messiness, uncertainties, and conflicts around goal identification, problem definition and instrument choice. Once these realities are accepted, along with the unavoidable complexity and ‘wickedness’ of social problems, the limits to human cognition and decision-making abilities need to be also recognized. An account of the policy process that omits these human frailties will only be partial. This book has set out to reconnect policy and politics by drawing attention to the value-laden nature of human choices, whether by individuals or by policy makers.
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