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Can incrementalism work? Show more Show less
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Incrementalism is when changes occur gradually. Most often referring to the policy of social change happening in degrees. The use of the term incrementalism is first attributed to Lindblom (1959) and then Wildavsky (1964). According to them, people break down complex problems into manageable steps. They simplify the process. From its inception, there has been a debate on whether incrementalism works to create change or if it actually detracts from change.

Incrementalism works, but not by itself. Show more Show less

To make change you need both incrementalism and big surges.
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All change requires first incrementalism and then a surge of momentum.

If you look at big changes that have occurred you will see that they resulted from the combination of years of incremental steps and then a surge of progress.
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The Argument

Substantial changes are made through years of incremental steps and then a sudden dramatic surge of progress. If you look at effective social movements, such as the civil rights movements or the women’s suffrage movements, you will see that they were going on for many years before they gained widespread traction. It may seem like the legislation that passed because of these movements happened suddenly, but that is because you did not see all the work that was occurring behind the scenes. There are years of incremental progress that then lead to a massive public movement that demands a surge of change such as the passage of legislation that allowed women the right to vote.

Counter arguments


[P1] Changes occur from the combination of years of incremental steps and then a surge of progress.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 14 May 2020 at 22:42 UTC