The Advisers: Scientists in the Policy Process

Brookings Institution Press
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America's governing system is unique in the extent to which scientists and other outside experts participate in the policy process. This wide-ranging study traces the rise of scientists in the policy process and shows how outside experts interrelate with politicians and administrators to produce a unique and dynamic policy process. It also shows how the very openness of American government creates the potential for unusual conflicts of interest.

Bruce L. R. Smith focuses on the experiences of agency and presidential-level advisory systems over the past several decades. He chronicles the special complexities and challenges resulting from the Federal Advisory Committee Act-the "open meeting" law-to provide a better understanding of the role of advisory committees and offers valuable lessons to guide their future use. He looks at science advice in the Departments of Defense, State, and Energy; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the Environmental Protection Agency; and then examines how science advisory mechanisms have worked at the White House.

Rather than simply providing a description of structures and institutions, Smith shows the advisory systems in action—how advisory systems work or fail to work in practice. He analyzes how the advisers influence the policymaking process and affect the life of the agencies they serve.

Smith concludes with an assessment of the relationship between science advice and American democracy. He explains that the widespread use of outside advisers clearly reflects America's preference for pluralism. By scrutinizing agency plans, goals, and operations, advisers and advisory committees serve a variety of functions and attempt to strike a balance between openness and citizen access to government and the need for discipline and sophisticated expertise in policymaking. At the root of the advisory process is a paradox: scientists are called on because of their special expertise, but they are useful only if they learn to play by the rules of the political game. The Challenge to the nation is to reconcile the integrity of science with the norms of democracy.

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About the author

Bruce L. R. Smith is a visiting professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. He was previously professor of political science at Columbia University and a senior staff member of the Center for Public Policy Education at the Brookings Institution.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2010
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Pages
350
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ISBN
9780815720973
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Science & Technology
Political Science / Public Policy / General
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Bruce L.R. Smith
Bruce L.R. Smith
After World War II, American statesman and scholar Lincoln Gordon emerged as one of the key players in the reconstruction of Europe. During his long career, Gordon worked as an aide to National Security Adviser Averill Harriman in President Truman's administration; for President John F. Kennedy as an author of the Alliance for Progress and as an adviser on Latin American policy; and for President Lyndon B. Johnson as assistant secretary of state. Gordon also served as the United States ambassador to Brazil under both Kennedy and Johnson. Outside the political sphere, he devoted his considerable talents to academia as a professor at Harvard University, as a scholar at the Brookings Institution, and as president at Johns Hopkins University.

In this impressive biography, Bruce L. R. Smith examines Gordon's substantial contributions to U.S. mobilization during the Second World War, Europe's postwar economic recovery, the security framework for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and U.S. policy in Latin America. He also highlights the vital efforts of the advisers who helped Gordon plan NATO's force expansion and implement America's dominant foreign policy favoring free trade, free markets, and free political institutions.

Smith, who worked with Gordon at the Brookings Institution, explores the statesman-scholar's virtues as well as his flaws, and his study is strengthened by insights drawn from his personal connection to his subject. In many ways, Gordon's life and career embodied Cold War America and the way in which the nation's institutions evolved to manage the twentieth century's vast changes. Smith adeptly shows how this "wise man" personified both America's postwar optimism and as its dawning realization of its own fallibility during the Vietnam era.

Alison Harwood
The importance of the financial system in economic development has been frequently neglected by analysts and poorly understood by policymakers. Are there policy reforms, or any particular sequence of reform measures, that will contribute to the successful functioning of the financial system and thus spur long-term economic growth? What kind of regulatory changes are appropriate as countries move toward financial liberalization and as government development banks decline in importance compared to private banks and nonbank financial institutions? What broad lessons can be discerned from the experience of financial reform in Asia and Latin America for the transitional countries of Russia and Eastern Europe? The world's financial system has been buffeted in recent years by the crisis in the U.S. savings and loan industry, the implosion of the Japanese "bubble economy" of the late 1980s, the Mexican peso crisis, and other events. The experience of Western nations in adapting to financial liberalization can provide useful insights for the many countries embarking on a course of market reforms and beginning to build the financial infrastructure for a market economy. This volume analyzes the recent financial reforms and reform strategies in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Russia. The chapters draw on the extensive practical experience of the authors and reflect the most recent empirical research in the field. The contributors are Gerald Caprio, Jr., Dimitri Vittas, and Ross Levine, the World Bank; David C. Cole and Betty F. Slade, Harvard Institute for International Development; Maxwell J. Fry, University of Birmingham at Edgbaston; Claudio Gonzalez-Vega, Ohio State University; Stephan Haggard, University of California, San Diego; R. Barry Johnston, International Monetary Fund; Philip A. Wellons, Harvard Law School; Lawrence J. White, New York University; and Alison Harwood.
Bruce L.R. Smith
Bruce L.R. Smith
After World War II, American statesman and scholar Lincoln Gordon emerged as one of the key players in the reconstruction of Europe. During his long career, Gordon worked as an aide to National Security Adviser Averill Harriman in President Truman's administration; for President John F. Kennedy as an author of the Alliance for Progress and as an adviser on Latin American policy; and for President Lyndon B. Johnson as assistant secretary of state. Gordon also served as the United States ambassador to Brazil under both Kennedy and Johnson. Outside the political sphere, he devoted his considerable talents to academia as a professor at Harvard University, as a scholar at the Brookings Institution, and as president at Johns Hopkins University.

In this impressive biography, Bruce L. R. Smith examines Gordon's substantial contributions to U.S. mobilization during the Second World War, Europe's postwar economic recovery, the security framework for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and U.S. policy in Latin America. He also highlights the vital efforts of the advisers who helped Gordon plan NATO's force expansion and implement America's dominant foreign policy favoring free trade, free markets, and free political institutions.

Smith, who worked with Gordon at the Brookings Institution, explores the statesman-scholar's virtues as well as his flaws, and his study is strengthened by insights drawn from his personal connection to his subject. In many ways, Gordon's life and career embodied Cold War America and the way in which the nation's institutions evolved to manage the twentieth century's vast changes. Smith adeptly shows how this "wise man" personified both America's postwar optimism and as its dawning realization of its own fallibility during the Vietnam era.

Bruce L.R. Smith
Contrary to popular belief, the problem with U.S. higher education is not too much politics but too little. Far from being bastions of liberal bias, American universities have largely withdrawn from the world of politics. So conclude Bruce L. R. Smith, Jeremy Mayer, and Lee Fritschler in this illuminating book. C losed Minds? d draws on data from interviews, focus groups, and a new national survey by the authors, as well as their decades of experience in higher education to paint the most comprehensive picture to date of campus political attitudes. It finds that while liberals outnumber conservatives within faculty ranks, even most conservatives believe that ideology has little impact on hiring and promotion. Today's students are somewhat more conservative than their professors, but few complain of political bias in the classroom. Similarly, a Pennsylvania legislative inquiry, which the authors explore as a case study of conservative activism in higher education, found that political bias was "rare" in the state's public colleges and universities. Yet this ideological peace on campus has been purchased at a high price. American universities are rarely hospitable to lively discussions of issues of public importance. They largely shun serious political debate, all but ignore what used to be called civics, and take little interest in educating students to be effective citizens. Smith, Mayer, and Fritschler contrast the current climate of disengagement with the original civic mission of American colleges and universities. In concluding, they suggest how universities can reclaim and strengthen their place in the nation's political and civic life.
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