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Can incrementalism work?

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.

Yes, incrementalism works.

Incrementalism is the basis of change and negotiation. It is the realistic way to achieve policy changes.

Incrementalism is the basis of change.

Changes in nature, human beings' existence, the development of the sciences, and policy creation are gradual and accumulative.

Incrementalism is the only realistic option.

Incrementalism simplifies complex problems into manageable steps. It allows for comprising and trial and error.

Incrementalism is the basis of effective negotiation.

Starting with smaller points of agreement that can be built upon is a common negotiation strategy. This is the foundation of incrementalism which allows both sides to comprise.

No, incrementalism does not work.

Incrementalism detracts from progress. It stops people from demanding change and is an unfit response to a crisis.

Change requires a big surge of progress, not incrementalism

Both the momentum of a movement and innovation are lost if the agreement that both sides come to is too cautious and measured. Radical policy shifts must occur before society settles back into a new equilibrium.

Achieving small changes stops people from demanding big changes.

Accepting limited changes halts the momentum of a movement which leads to accepting half-measures and no longer demanding progress.

Incrementalism doesn’t work in times of crisis.

In extraordinary times (such as a pandemic) small changes do not suffice.

Incrementalism works, but not by itself.

To make change you need both incrementalism and big surges.

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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This page was last edited on Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 07:32 UTC