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American Public Policy System

PPOL 4100

The American Policy Agenda, which is required for MPP students, will provide an intensive overview of the development of American public policy in the 20th century, with special emphasis on the interconnection between the values of the public and private sectors. Through the lens of a useful descriptive model, graduate students will learn concepts of the role of government have evolved from: the (1) constitutional period, wherein political society was thought to be a rational device for the protection of property and liberty and prosperity was equivalent to the free management of affairs; to the (2) administrative period, wherein powerful regulatory agencies were created to control concentrations of corporate power and the idea developed that the market does not always reflect the social good; to the (3) bureaucratic period, wherein the stock market collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression reversed key ideas of limited government inherent in the constitution and, beginning with the New Deal, social engineering in the "public interest" defined virtually every problem as "national;" to the (4) social welfare period, wherein government became the source of vast entitlements and benefits and interest groups came to dominate the policy debate; to the (5) current period of stalemate, gridlock, and reconsideration, wherein big government is a given, along with a utilitarian social contract defined as that which provides the most efficiency, the most productivity, and the most consumption for the most people.