How do personal relationships affect government decision making?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It is almost inevitable that personal relationships affect government decision-making.  For one thing, those in government who have the power to appoint others appoint people they know, acquaintances at the very least, and often friends and family. Those appointees often act as advisers, which means that personal relationships affect most decision-making.  Another way in which personal relationships affect decision-making is that when someone in power knows someone in a particular situation, that often creates empathy that affects his or her decisions. A good example of this is reflected in the present presidential campaign, wherein we have one candidate who knows many poor and/or disenfranchised people, because of how he was raised, who he married, and the people he has surrounded himself with or chosen as friends.  His personal relationships with people who have experienced need affect his decisions.  On the other hand, we have a candidate who was raised in wealth and who has surrounded himself with wealthy acquaintances and friends, leading to a very different perspective and very different decisions.  Since people in positions of power in government come to government with personal relationships, there is simply no way to avoid those relationships having an influence on them. No one is elected or appointed with a blank slate. 


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