Why do we need Public Policies? Private Interests vs. Public Interests
Questions: • Why do we need public policies? • What is “good” public policy?
Markets Polis (Political Community) Private Interest Public Interest Public Policy Public Policy Decision-making Market failure Externalities “Commons” Problem Politics Collective Action Concepts
Fish Banks Simulation – What did We See? • Market decision-making • Individual action to maximize individual welfare • Some “winners” & Some “losers” • Willing risk-takers & Unwilling risk-takers • Uncoordinated aggregate effects that affect others – Externalities • Private interests • Public interests
Fish Banks Simulation – What did We See? • “Commons” Problem • Actions with private benefits social costs • Actions with social benefits private costs • Collective Action Failure • No Community (Collective) Decision-making for common good • Unwillingness to forsake private benefits or accept private costs for the collective good
Fish Banks Simulation – What did We See? • Government Intervention in the Public Interest • Actions with Positive Public Benefits may Impose Private Costs • Create Inefficiencies • Unrelated policy actions Serving Some Public Interest may affect both private and public interests • Actions with social benefits social costs (public interest tradeoffs) • Actions with social benefits for one group social costs for another group (equity problems)
Political Community – Polis • People living under the same political rules and structures of governance • Address shared problems and resolve political disputes within an agreed framework • Share status as citizens
“Glue” of the Polis • Bridging the Gap between private and public interests • Influence (socialization) • Cooperation • Loyalty • Foundation for “groups” in the Polis • Did these play a role in Fish Banks?
Public Policy • “…communities trying to decide something as a community.” – Stone(2001) • Pattern of government decisions and actions to solve public problems – serving the public interest – Laws & Meyer(1999)
Politics: • What is the relevant community & government? • What about fishers from outside the local community? • What about non-fishers from outside the local community? • Would the local governments of the various fishing communities have limited the catch? • How does including/excluding people from the relevant community affect policy making? • How does a community determine that something is “a problem?” • What or who defines “the public interest?” • What is “good” public policy?
Public Interest as the Aggregate of Individual Preferences • Uncoordinated (non-deliberative) choice • Σ individual preferences • Is this the same as collective (social) preferences • = Advantage: efficient • Welfare Economics Model of Public Interest
Public Interest as Deliberated Interests • Consensus orientation • Community knows what is good for it • Universally subscribed collective choices • Majoritarian subscribed collective choices
Public Interest as “Prescribed” Community Interests • Experts determine community “needs” and proper level of government response • Professional/scientific analysis • Public is “rationally ignorant” • Its preferences are uninformed • And with good reason
What is “good” public policy? • Is it what the people want? • Claimants are satisfied • Is it what the government experts tell us we need? • Solving the most serious problems • As the experts see them • effectively • Is it what the economists say maximizes the efficient use of resources? • Societal “net benefits”
Market • Social system • individuals pursue their own welfare • Mutually beneficial exchanges • Competition for “scarce” resources • Efficiency is a major goal
Politics • Clash of ideas, values, and interests in determining how things ought to be in society • Competing visions of the future of the community • Passion matters