Policy Formation in a Rapidly Changing Society
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 11 Dec 1969, p. 164-176


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Policy Formation in a Rapidly Changing Society


The debate over means and ends. Is there such a thing as a common public good? If so, what is this ultimate good? If not, is there a legitimate proxy? These and other questions are posed, then one part of this debate is focussed on: the question of means as distinct from the questions of ends. Two important challenges in our age of techniques of market research and public opinion polling; of systems analysis and mathematical programming; of benefit-cost measurement, programme budgeting, game theory, and optimum organization design. The two challenges are first, a negative one: a responsibility to abandon certain old ideas and honoured traditions that have outlived their usefulness. The second, a positive one: a responsibility to find sound, new ideas, and effective, new traditions, to cope with the problems of our modern, rapidly changing society and, more importantly to seize the unparalleled opportunities for human development with which it presents us. A detailed discussion of these two challenges follow. The difficulty of foreseeing the exact forms that any necessary restructuring will take in the public sector. The necessity of such restructuring if we are to benefit from the new policy tools that lie at our disposal. Thinking back to the ancient Greek city state. Seeking a pure political democracy.