How public policy should be developed and implemented will have been discussed as soon as societies began to emerge. Ancient Greek philosophers encompassed policy issues in their musings on politics. Aristotle observed, circa 333 BCE, that:

Poverty is the cause of the defects of democracy. That is the reason why measures should be taken to ensure a permanent level of prosperity. This is in the interest of all classes, including the prosperous themselves; and therefore the proper policy is to accumulate any surplus revenue in a fund, and then to distribute this fund in block grants to the poor. The ideal method of distribution, if a sufficient fund can be accumulated, is to make such grants sufficient for the purchase of a plot of land: failing that, they should be large enough to start men in commerce or agriculture.