State Autonomy in Democratic Societies
This book has explored the origins of discretionary regulatory authority in federal bureaucracies, suggesting that it was a consequence of the regulatory debates that ensued when the Civil War came to an end. It has shown that the American regulatory state was a reaction against populist agitation that focused first on monetary policy and then on railroad regulation. It has also considered how the Democratic Party's ideological shift led certain Republicans to endorse bureaucracy to insulate regulatory decisions from public opinion. This concluding chapter discusses the informational problems that existed in the nineteenth century and how they have been exacerbated by certain political conditions in contemporary America. Finally, it examines how voter ignorance and the vast scope of public decisions have resulted in state autonomy in democratic societies.
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