Popular Public Policy Books

Popular Public Policy Books (showing 301-350 of 1,056)
A Primer for Policy Analysis A Primer for Policy Analysis (Paperback)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 3.30 — 25 ratings — published 1978
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Culture Warrior Culture Warrior (Hardcover)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 3.63 — 2,565 ratings — published 2006
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Social Democratic America Social Democratic America (Hardcover)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 3.41 — 119 ratings — published 2013
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The Republican War on Science The Republican War on Science (Paperback)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 3.75 — 1,482 ratings — published 2005
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A Prayer for the City A Prayer for the City (Paperback)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 4.09 — 894 ratings — published 1997
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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Paperback)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 4.01 — 3,000 ratings — published 2002
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The Holocaust in American Life The Holocaust in American Life (Paperback)
by (shelved 1 time as public-policy)
avg rating 3.92 — 194 ratings — published 1999
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“Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants," wrote Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. In the original and primary sense of lacks or needs, wants tend to structure our vision of government's responsibilities. The quest for security - whether economic, physical, psychological, or military - brings a sense of urgency to politics and is one of the enduring sources of passion in policy controversies.

Need is probably the most fundamental political claim. Even toddlers know that need carries more weight than desire or deservingness. They learn early to counter a rejected request by pleading, "I need it." To claim need is to claim that one should be given the resources or help because they are essential. Of course, this raises the question "essential for what?" In conflicts over security, the central issues are what kind of security government should attempt to provide; what kinds of needs it should attempt to meet; and how the burdens of making security a collective responsibility should be distributed.

Just as most people are all for equity and efficiency in the abstract, most people believe that society should help individuals and families when they are in dire need. But beneath this consensus is a turbulent and intense conflict over how to distinguish need from mere desire, and how to preserve a work - or - merit based system of economic distribution in the face of distribution according to need. Defining need for purposes of public programs become much an exercise like defining equity and efficiency. People try to portray their needs as being objective, and policymakers seek to portray their program criteria as objective, in order to put programs beyond political dispute. As with equity and efficiency, there are certain recurring strategies of argument that can be used to expand or contract a needs claim.

In defense policy, relative need is far more important than absolute. Our sense of national security (and hence our need for weapons) depends entirely on comparison with the countries we perceive as enemies. And here Keynes is probably right: The need for weapons can only be satisfied by feeling superior to "them." Thus, it doesn't matter how many people our warheads can kill or how many cities they can destroy. What matters is what retaliatory capacity we have left after an attack by the other side, or whether our capacity to sustain an offense is greater than their capacity to destroy it. The paradox of nuclear weapons is that the more security we gain in terms of absolute capability (i.e., kill potential), the more insecure we make ourselves with respect to the consequences of nuclear explosions. We gain superiority only by producing weapons we ourselves are terrified to use.”
Deborah Stone, Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making

“Housing is a human right. There can be no fairness or justice in a society in which some live in homelessness, or in the shadow of that risk, while others cannot even imagine it.”
Jordan Flaherty, Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six

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