Book Analysis: The Science of Muddling Through

1890 WordsDec 1, 20128 Pages
A Summary of: The Science of “Muddling Through” By Charles E. Lindblom ------------------------------------------------- Public Administration Review, Vol.XIX, No.2 (Spring, 1959), 79-88 I. Introduction This article discusses two different strategies for comparing policies. The first strategy, Lindblom entitles Root, or Rational-Comprehensive Lindblom refers to the second strategy as Branch, or Successive Limited Comparisons. After a brief explanation of the two systems, he goes on to argue the superiority of the Branch system over the more commonly discussed Root system II. Root The Root approach, or Rational-Comprehensive, is best utilized for more simple problems, according to Lindblom, due to the necessitation of massive…show more content…
Democracies tend to change policies incrementally. By simplifying the policy by limiting the focus to slight deviations, the most value is made of available information. “Non-incremental policy proposals are therefore typically not only politically irrelevant, but also unpredictable.” Another way to simplify analysis is by ignoring important potential consequences of the possible policies, and also ignoring the values associated with those neglected consequences. Even if the exclusions are made at random, the policies may be formulated more intelligently than by attempting to achieve a comprehensiveness which is too extensive. ii. Achieving a Degree of Comprehensiveness The potential for losing important values is present in any organization. The benefit of a hypothetical division of labor is that every important value has its own watchdog; these watchdogs can guard their respective interests in two ways. First, they may redress damages done by other agencies. Second, they may anticipate and avoid injury before it happens. In the United States, no part of government attempts comprehensive policy overviews on things such as income distribution, yet a policy evolves. This incremental policy-making pattern fits with the multiple pressure pattern. When this particular type of policy-making model is followed, it is easier for one group to anticipate the moves of
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