Did you know that everything you have access to, from paved roads to squares, is linked to public policies? Well come and understand this matter with us
The term ” public policy ” is one of those concepts that we all come across out there. He is always in newspapers, websites and magazines, but when we are questioned, we have a hard time defining what he means. This is not surprising, after all, the term has many forms and uses. Far from exhausting the meaning of that expression, let’s try to give it a practical sense.
Imagine that you and your neighbors decide to jointly adopt a dog that is walking around. To avoid that old adage “dog with more than one owner dies of hunger” all of you would have to make some arrangements: delegate responsibilities (which involve money and rules), like who gives food on which days, who is available to vaccinate the animal and castrate him, who can offer sporadic shelter, etc. Thus, all this organization and process contributes to achieving a common objective: the good of the dog. This process works in a similar way to public policy.
In simple terms, public policy is a process (with a series of steps and rules) that aims to solve a public problem . We all deal with this on a daily basis in our personal relationships: devising solutions to reach a purpose that pleases a group of people.But what changes when it comes to public life and not a group of neighbors? A lot of things.
Public Policies in practice
The difference between these two processes is great. Creating a public policy to, for example, eradicate illiteracy , is much more complex than making an agreement to care for the community dog. While this involves half a dozen residents in a limited area, some trips to the vet, some portions of food and a shelter, the other mobilizes a very large number of people (specialists, teachers and other public officials) in very large areas, financial resources audiences, application planning and investment monitoring, evaluation of practices and constant improvement to make these actions more efficient. All of this, following a series of rules and technical knowledge. Seems enough?
That’s right! Now let’s take a look at the four types and examples of public policies that impact our daily lives:
- Distributive public policies:its main function is to distribute certain services, goods or amounts to only a portion of the population. An example would be to direct public money to areas suffering from floods; in Education, it would be quotas.
- Redistributive public policies:its main function is to redistribute goods, services or resources to a portion of the population, withdrawing money from everyone’s budget. An example of this would be the pension system; in Education, it would be the educational financing policy, where there is a fund in which all municipalities and states put money, but which is then distributed according to enrollments and not according to the contribution of each one.
- Regulatory public policies:These measures establish rules for standards of behavior. They are well known because they take the form of laws. A very common example is traffic regulations; in Education, we can mention the law that organizes the area, such as the LDB (Law of Guidelines and Bases of Education).
- Constitutive public policies:The difficult name means that they establish the “rules of the game”. That is, they are the ones who say how, by whom and when public policies can be created. The concept may seem obscure, but do you want to know one that affects the lives of all of us? The distribution of responsibility among municipalities, states and the Federal Government. In Education, for example, municipalities are responsible for Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education 1; states by Elementary School 2 and High School; and the Federal Government for Higher Education.
And what do you have to do with it?
Public policies shape the country we want and that is why it is so important to keep an eye on them. If we establish a public policy of income redistribution, for example, we are signaling the confrontation of the hard Brazilian economic inequality, in a more immediate way – which is important for the poorest part of the population, such as those of the millions of people who live below the poverty line. poverty line .
These readings of what public policies are and what they are for have to be on the population’s radar at all times and not just during election periods. The more democratic and technical the public policy processes are, the greater the chances that the results will be positive for the whole society. As the country’s financial resources are limited, public policies play an important role in organizing where this amount of public money goes.
If you still think that this matter is not up to you, rethink. Even if you don’t use the public health service (another example of public policy), you do use streets, squares and public parks, waste disposal, housing regulation, etc.
It is easy to see that public policies are in everything and concern us all. It is also important to remember a specific type of them: public educational policies . A management that gives priority to quality actions focused on Education indicates the desire to guarantee access to knowledge for all and, consequently, build a less unequal country. These educational initiatives require technical planning and take more time for the fruits to be harvested.