Policy making in Globalization and democratic Society By : Dilip Raj Paudel
The common principle is ‘the policy once made is not for ever’. With the lapse of time change in the environment, the policy change is inevitable. The fact is that policies are constantly evolving and policy cycle is an ongoing dynamic process. But change cannot be only seen through policy cycle. Process model or stage model also shows the pattern of evolvement of policy. Changes may be as a result of policy evaluation, but policy change also results from the change in environment. It may be the cause as well as the effects. Policy change is a consequence of the change in the environment (change in the concept, idea, and the development of the organizational structure). New policies frequently emerge from the existing policies. Policy change is also the result of the earlier policies with the changes in conditions (worst condition than past one or vice versa) which demand the new policies as existing one proves to be insufficient or inadequate. Any new policies are likely to be the revision of the old one. These have also been proved by incremental theory. Policy change does not happen overnight or in vacuum.
There are certain reasons, factors that support policy change. They are : • Changes in the political environment- • Changes in the economic conditions or social dynamics. • Change in the technology • Changes in the bureaucratic structure • Cultural factors • Invalidation or contraction of the existing • Opposition by target group • If the feedback show defects in policies. Types of Policy Change There are four types of Policy Change: 1. Policy Succession – The replacement of the existing policy by the new policy. Replacement is the type of change but change is usually continuous with the existing policy and is also deliberate and intended change. Forms of Policy Successions are a) Linear Succession, b) Consolidation, c) Splitting and d) Non Linear Successor: 2. Policy Innovation: Policy Innovation involves the government involvement into entirely new type of activity. Policy Innovation is also a deliberate /purposive attempt /actions. The area , concept is new hence it may not have base also such as legal frame, institution, resources. Government has to start from the zero. 3. Policy Maintenance : It Involves adaptation of policies /adjustments of the policies to keep the policies on track. Innovation may be viewed as a process of change on a continuum with the policy maintenance and Innovation. E.g. Health education on Smoking 4. Policy Termination: It is the abandonment or ending of any policy /programs/ organization. Hence after termination, it may be ex policy and will be no longer in operation. There are four aspects of policy termination: o Functional Aspects: o Organizational Termination: o Policy Termination: o Programs Policy Succession Policy Innovation Policy Maintenance Policy Termination Replacement of existing Policies New Policies Policy change may be occurred by the globalization.
Globalization and Public Policy Making is the concern of globalization of national policies and policy making. National/domestic policies which once used to be under the jurisdiction of national government /individual state /people/ citizen of the state now have come under the influence of international agencies, big private houses, multinational /transnational agencies, economic and financial players whether it is countries or organizations. This has resulted in erosion of national sovereignty and narrowed down the ability of government and people to make choices from options in case of the favorable policies. Hence globalization has reduced the ability of the national government to make choices independently. National governments feel that they have lost the control over the national policy agenda. International, multinational interest groups, global news media and major financial players, agencies, all influence the demands of the domestic government and policy options available to the government. One of the important consequences of globalization is the increasing participation in the international organization /arena/affairs and adoption of agreements which are binding in nature. These have resulted in pulling of sovereignty in the international level. It also reduces the scope and ability of the national government to follow /adopt specific policy. This has also resulted in the modification of the already established policies of the national government based on certain values and practice and thereby adoption of entire new policy. Globalization has changed the context in which the national government operates. Domestic policy issues are heavily influenced by the actors and events which are beyond the control of the ability of the government. Actions and reactions and the developing scenario at international level cannot be ignored while formulating the national policies. National policy issues are being constrained by the international level. Domestic policy independence is narrowed by the inter dependence. The social and economic interdependence affects the national decision making. Transfer of national policy making from national to international level. Policy instruments remain beyond the control of national government. Policy instruments are a mechanism /tool used by the government to get the desired result /outcome.
Policy instruments both regulatory and economic/financial are being controlled by the international players. Government have to implement policies in line with the decisions and rules of the international agencies/practice/norms etc. The above mentioned issues indicate the erosion of national policy making capacity. Independent policy making capacity of the national government is narrowed down. Examples: Major economic /financial agencies are stationed in developed countries. Developed countries have full control/influence over the process and policies of these economic /financial agencies. They are also in a better position to control their own policies as well as the globalization agenda and its contents. This ultimately affects the national policies and content of globalization. There are several factors behind the erosion of national policy making capacity. Erosion of national policy making capacity e.g.-results from technological advancement and liberalization of market .Technological development in the field of satellite TV, email and internet etc had made difficult for the countries to develop communication and cultural policies and control over the spread of information. Liberalization of the market has created a condition where there is a free flow of capital and major economic and finance players controlling the large amount of capital have made the countries difficult in managing the cash flow in and out of the country and maintaining the currency exchange. National government has to comply with the obligation under several issues within the scope of WTO. This means that many domestic policies of developing countries are being made in the WTO negotiations table rather than in the national parliament. Loan conditionality have been an important instrument of global dissemination of national macroeconomic policy packages e.g. National government /developing countries who want to reschedule their debt have to follow structural adjustment programs. (SAP). SAP includes macroeconomic policies, social policies, privatization, governance and financial policies. Scope and ability of the policy makers have also narrowed down through globalization. Erosion differs in degree from one to another country depending upon their capacity to negotiate and resist. It has put the scope and ability of independent creative policy makers into shadow. National policy making mechanism have been greatly affected by globalization.
The national Policy mechanism is also affected. Cross border movement, flow of idea /concepts, technology, have compelled national government to enhance the competitiveness in terms of the adjustments of the policy. Democratic policy making consists of two aspects namely participation of civil society in policy making process (Civil engagement) and public opinion. Public opinion and democratic policy making: Democratic way of making public policies demands basic public opinion for formulating public policies. Democratic norms are the acceptance of public opinion as a source of public policy making. The literatures about democratic politics widely believe that public generate policies. Public opinion is reflected in: a. election b. public policy c. laws/ legislative, enactments. Public opinion means the judgment of public / citizen regarding any specific policy issues or set of policy issues at any moment of time. If such judgment gets space/significance / importance while formulating the public policy it is said to be democratic policy making .This is the crux of democratic policy making. Public opinion in a democratic society is a basis for identifying to developing the range of policy opinions that are acceptable to the people. The method of using public opinion for public policy decision making represents a democratic way of policy making. In any democracy, the policy makers / politicians and policy outcome should be responsive to the changes in the pattern of public opinion.
In this context, there are two important aspects/considerations: 1. The citizens/public do have the policy preference and the citizens are able and willing to communicate their opinion to the concerned authority. 2. An environment conducive to express public opinion / communication of the public opinion exists to facilitate public participation. There must be conformity in the expressed opinion and adopted policy. There is also exception that policies frequently do not match with the public opinion, there may be several reasons for this and such reasons are guided by the particular need of the situations. The beauty of the democracy is the acceptance of public opinion and change in the public policy making accordingly. The role/place of public opinion in Policy Making An easy solutions to the policy problems/issues can be ensured only when the policy/ law is the product/ result/reflection of the public opinion, views. Citizens accept or obey policies only when it is based on the will of the citizens or preference of citizens. The whole process policy making acts as a means to review the distinction between the policy provider and the receiver. Democratic policy making supports/postulates free organization of public opinion. There should not be any distinction between opposing/conflicting opinions. Acceptance to opposing interest is to acceptance to compromise/agreement/disagreement/logical compromise. In other words it also helps establish adjustment on policy measures. The existence of diverse opinion in democratic society is the creative source of developing policy opinion. Therefore democratic policy making is responsive to pattern of changes in policy making at large -majority of public opinion.
There must be conducive environment for the expression of communication of public opinion. Democratic policy making accepts the free flow of public opinion. Public opinions are always registered/welcomed/ channeled in democracies. Democracy (Democratic Type of Decision Making) is differentiated from other form of government on the basis of assumptions of diffusion of power rather than concentration of power in one place. Public opinion is a means for checking diffusion of power. It is because the government is a type of organization of power. Balance must be ensured in the structure of the community for the function of the democracy. Democratic structure survives only when there is balance of power in the society and it is only possible when there is acceptance of public opinion and also acceptance of opposing interest. No any power/group/absolute group can seize/hijack the opportunity than it deserve and cannot prevent the use of opportunities by other group/s. This ultimately acts a measure to control the undue pressure from certain group to the government. Exception: There will be no significance/meaning of public opinion if such opinions are created out of coercion and there is disrespect for other opinion. Other Aspects /Issues Public opinion policy If we accept that public opinion determines public policy then it is necessary to consider the place of propagator of public opinion. The medium of opinion propagators are largely the government agencies, the public relation campaign, it could be – legislative, executives, judiciaries, administrative machineries, street level bureaucrats, political parties and professional interest groups. The basic idea behind the public opinion is the Public opinions are directed towards the achievements of collective interest.
There is also the possibility of manipulation of opinion forming processes. Powerful group/s may control the public opinion forming group /process, even media can control. Hence any group should reach the public without any vested interest. Policy makers themselves do have the opportunity to influence the public opinions. In such cases policy might be adjusted in line with the interests of the policy makers. There are certain measures for the expression of policy opinions. o Voting in the election campaign o Petition signing o Writing and speaking to policy makers Citizens can have impact upon policies by exercising the right of access to information. Public participation is possible only when the public is given full access to the all types of government held information. Improved access to information reinforces the structure of channel of communication and control.
Public participation in any form of public hearings, consultations with the concerned experts and professionals and public panels for specific cases can be utilized widely for democratic policy processes. One of the important methods to insure public accountability, acceptance and respect of public opinion is the provision of legislative in which the constituent or members of society can call back their elected representatives from office if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities. It is the popular method of controlling the policies / opinions. Accountability of the democratic government can be enhanced if there is full access to government laid information. The most important role can be played by the parliament. Parliament acts as the medium to make government sensitive towards public opinion. If government provides full information to the peoples, then appropriate opinion/input can be come from the citizen during the policy making process or election. Mechanism of Democratic policy making is always stands at centre while making policy. The most important being election, public opinion pools, referendum, consideration of opinions of organized groups, professionals, representative from interest groups, parties etc.