chapter  1
20 Pages

Public Policy and Personal Decisions: The Evolutionary Context

Most people would like to live in a society founded on moral principles that would help guide their interactions with their friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, and even with their enemies. But most individuals also resist constraints on their behavior that frustrate their attempts to achieve their personal goals and desires. This dilemma is often reflected in the importance of public policy and personal decisions in people’s lives. In this book, public policies refers to laws enacted by legislative bodies, judicial interpretations of these laws and administrative procedures designed to implement them, as well as to policies devised by corporations, public and personal institutions, unions, and professional societies that enable them to conform to laws and their interpretations. For example, all state societies have laws dealing with crimes such as theft, murder, and rape, as well as the regulation of commerce, marriage, and other family relationships. Similarly, businesses and public institutions (e.g., hospitals, churches, and schools) must have policies on accounting, safety, and harassment that conform to government policies.