This paper will argue that the
citizen does not ultimately decide public policy. The paper will analyse if a
citizen as an individual or as a collective group ultimately decides public
policy. The basis of the analysis of the stance will use public choice theory.
The findings of this analysis show the level of decision-making powers the
citizen has is heavily dependent on the political system of a country and that
the citizen themselves are unable to decide public policy due to the vast
nature of variables in their own decision-making process and therefore, being
unable to comprehend the complexities and impacts of their decision.
In this paper, the term, ‘citizen’
to refer to a person or persons status who have legal entitlement to contribute
to decisions in public policy. The term, ‘ultimately’ will refer to who or what
makes the final decision in public policy. Finally, the term public policy will
denote the rules and regulations of the society that government commits to and
works to implement. In order to address whether the citizen ultimately decides
public policy, it is important to consider whether the citizen has been
delegated any power or authority to do so in the first place. Dictatorships,
regimes and other oppressive political environments do not give the citizens
any platform or authority to allow political contribution, let alone decide
Over sixty percent of the
world is ruled by various forms of democracy, so when a regime or oppressive government
begins to show signs of collapsing, leaders from other democracies rally to
help shape a new potential democracy. This is what happened in much of the Arab
Spring, and in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution a decade ago (Howlett et al., 2009). Even though the citizen attempted to
decide public policy, they could not predict the problems created by forcing
and imposing actions that distorted public policy and by doing so led to other
powers getting involved to take back decision-making power over public policy. Countries
with democratic systems delegate a level of authority to their citizens.
Representatives of more than 100 countries gathered at the world Forum on
democracy in Warsaw and proclaimed that, “the will of the people” was “the
basis of the authority of government” (Howlett et al., 2009). Therefore, if a political system does
not delegate any physical power to the citizen it is impossible for the citizen
to ultimately decide public policy.