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,[1] and the Georgics even more slowly at an average of one line per day.[2] Logical incrementalism implies that the steps in the process are sensible.[3] 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.


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