Incrementalism is a method of working by adding to a project using many small (often unplanned), incremental changes instead of a few (extensively planned) large jumps. Wikipedia, for example, illustrates the concept by building an encyclopedia bit by bit, continually adding to it. In a similar vein, according to legend Virgil wrote the Aeneid in an incremental process, averaging three lines per day, and the Georgics even more slowly at an average of one line per day. Logical incrementalism implies that the steps in the process are sensible. In public policy, incrementalism refers to the method of change by which many small policy changes are enacted over time in order to create a larger broad based policy change. This was the theoretical policy of rationality developed by Lindblom to be seen as a middle way between the Rational Actor Model and bounded rationality as both long term goal driven policy rationality and satisficing were not seen as adequate.
Commentary: Clearly, successive governments are paying homage to this concept; the slow erosion of civil liberties, step-by-step, a small portion at a time, one small right here, one small liberty there until finally we’ve all been painted into a small corner unsure where to turn – with each direction leading to possible criminalisation due to 8000 new laws passed by the previous Labour government and no end in sight by the current one.