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Iron Triangle

  • By: Ellen M. van Bueren
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

The iron triangle is a metaphor for the strong and closed relationships between group representatives of specific interests, government bureaucrats, and politicians. Decisions made within this triangle dominate policymaking in a particular area. Iron triangles or subgovernments could especially be recognized in policymaking in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, juridical laws opened up the iron triangles by providing citizens and stakeholders access to the policy process. Policymaking was a process in which no longer three, but multiple actors participated, including environmental interest groups. In political science and public policy, iron triangles are considered to be a form of closed decision making of the past, but the term is sometimes still used to explain the hegemony of unsustainable practices, in ...

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