Factors of Policy
Domestic policy decisions usually reflect a nation’s history and experience, its social and economic conditions, the needs and priorities of its people, and the nature of its government. Domestic policy is a frequent source of disagreement among people of different backgrounds and philosophies. People who hold conservative beliefs, for instance, will likely stress order, security, and traditional values in domestic policy. People who hold more liberal beliefs, will likely emphasize equality and government efforts to help the needy.
Many broad domestic policy issues are similar for nearly all countries of the world. For example, all governments are expected to provide education, law and order, and other basic services for their citizens. However, the specific goals and objectives of domestic policy vary depending on each nation’s needs and capabilities. Most wealthy democracies, for instance, spend substantial sums of money on domestic programs. Many poorer countries have difficulty devoting resources to such essential areas as education and health care.
Many domestic policy debates concern the appropriate level of government involvement in economic and social affairs. Traditionally, conservatives believe that the government should not play a major role in regulating business and managing the economy. Most conservatives also believe that government action cannot solve the problems of poverty and economic inequality. Most liberals, however, support government programs that seek to provide economic security, ease human suffering, and reduce inequality. Many liberals also believe that the government should regulate businesses to ensure safe and fair working conditions and to limit environmental pollution.
Certain domestic policy issues are especially controversial among people of different cultures, religions, and personal beliefs. Examples of such issues include abortion rights, the rights of homosexuals, the role of religion in public life, and...