By David M. Freeman

Publication by means of Freeman, David M.

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Additional info for Choice against choice: constructing a policy-assessing sociology for social development

Sample text

I proceed in the spirit of Clarence S. F. Page 1 I The Challenge of Policy Assessment The survival of mankind is threatened by overpopulation, waste of resources, by voluntary weapons of nuclear war and the involuntary ones of pollution. The forces of enlightened rationality seem to have turned against their best purpose. The justice of man's social institutions is threatened, too, by the uncontrolled power of organizations and firms and bureaucracies. And the solutions offered by some for these problems make matters worse: The authoritarianism of a small elite which is supposed to assure survival along with law and order, the egalitarianism of a tyrannic majority for which justice has come to mean that no man must have to do anything which is different.

It is only to assert that sociologists can advance an analysis to inform developmental policy choice in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural contexts. Chapter 1 states the terms of the policy-assessment challenge by addressing four interrelated problems. First, agents of the public household must possess logically defensible value criteria for choosing among policy options in a world in which each alternative would impose a combination of benefit and harm. Second, a case is made that technology does not impact society evenly.

Page 2 The idea of crisis has almost become banal, but beneath the daily headlines many contemporary thinkers sense crisis in a deeper sense a sense that public institutions in both capitalist and socialist societies have been exposed as lacking capacity to allocate resources to values in legitimate ways informed by a defensible collective vision of social development. Western culture has been built upon the idea of progress rooted in the power of human intellect, rationality, science, and technological advancement.

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Choice against choice: constructing a policy-assessing by David M. Freeman
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