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Bureaucracy and Democracy - The Case for More Bureaucracy and Less Democracy

Bureaucracy and Democracy - The Case for More Bureaucracy and Less Democracy

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Bureaucracy and Democracy: The Case for More Bureaucracy and Less DemocracyAuthor(s): Kenneth J. MeierReviewed work(s):Source:
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 57, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1997), pp. 193-199Published by:
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Bureaucracy
and
Democracy
.
The
Case
for
More
Bureaucracyr
and
Less
Democrc
Kenneth
.
Mejer,niversityfWisconsin-Milwaukee
In 'Democracynd BureaucracyMeier rgueshatthe bureau-cracy roblem nthe UnitedStates s, inreality, governanceproblem.Framednthis way,heargueshekeyproblemsrefailuresof electoralnstitutions atherhan ailuresof bureaucra-cy. As aresult, ublicadministrationeeds o broadents ocusandincludehestudyofelectoralnstitutionsswellas thestudyof bureaucracy.ffectivegovernancespossiblenlystudentsofpublicadministrationeturn o theirreformistootsnd addressbothbureaucraticndelectoralnstitutions.As astartingointin suchadebate,Meierproposesseriesf reformsfor.S.politi-cal institutions.Ithasn't eenmyaim to tellpeoplewhatto think...Ihaveried,rather,otellthemhow othink-specifically,f course,boutublicadministration.DwightWaldoBrownndStillman, 986, 164).
T
the United tatessfacing seriousroblemwiththe interface etweentsbureaucracyand ts electoralnstitutions.,Politiciansoftenrun for officebycampaigninggainsthebureaucracy.hecurrentntibureaucraticuzzword"reinventingovernment"eplacedhe cost-benefitanalysisf theReagan/Bushdministrativeresiden-cy(Durant,992),whicheplaced arter'siviler- viceeformndeorganization.ero-baseudgeting,managementyobjectives,rogramlanning ud-getingystems,ivil erviceeform,ndreinventinggovernmentre alleffortso convinceus thatbureaucracys theproblemithgovernancen theUnited tates.2fwecouldust omehowetbureau-cracy nderontrol,we couldbalancehebudget,eliminateoverty,einvigorateheeducationystem,and uremaleatternaldness.Missingnthepoliticaldebatessanyseriousassessment fbureaucracy,tsperformance,tspathologies,ritspromise.3ncomparisono otherindustrializedemocracies,owever,heUnitedStatesureaucracyppearso bemuch mallerndleanerRose, 985).treliesmoren theprivateec-torodeliveroodsndervices.
PublicAdministrationeview*May/June997,Vol.57,No.3193
 
Itiscomposedftechnocratsatherhanadministrativelites.And,Iwill argue hattis bothreasonablyffective ndat thesameimehighly esponsiveolegitimateoliticalemands.TheproblemsnAmericanovernment,nmyview,arenotproblemsfbureaucracyutproblemsfgovernance.4ncontrastto what sadequatesomemightvenrguexcellent)erformancebythebureaucracyGoodsell,983),heperformanceyourelec-toralnstitutionsasbeendismal.sanllustration,ongressndthepresidentavebeenengagednafutile25-yearattle obal-ance hebudget.Tiltingateconomicallyorecastedindmills,ifferent on-gressesnddifferentresidentsavegreedo balancehebudget(Gramm-Rudman);avecquiescedndeficitsearinghreeun-dredbilliondollars;aveperpetratedhemythhatone canbal-ancehebudgetwithout itheraisingaxes rcutting pending;haveonnumerousccasionshutdown hefederalovernment;buthaveccomplishedittlemore han o makeAlanGreenspan'sjobmoreifficult.Astheelectoralnstitutionsaveliminatedhefeasibilityf sensible iscalpolicy,abureaucracytheFederalReserve)ascompensated.n thepolicyields f healthare,ffir-mativection, udgeteficits,rime, rugs,ndsoon,electoralinstitutionsaveeenunableitheroprovidedeliberativeorumforresolvingoliticalonflicts,r toadopt oodpublic
olicy.5
Theonlypoliticalonsensusppearso be thatbureaucracysbadandneeds o berestricted.heronyfthesituations thatasthe electoralranchestalemate,heyactagainsthebureaucracy-theonepart fgovernmenthathasacapacityogovern.
PublicAdministration'sSinsAreSinsofOmission
Thegovernanceroblemanbeblamednpartntheieldofpublicdministration.ehaveeadilyndenthusiasticallyelpedtoreorganize,eform,ndreinventureaucracy.ehaveworkedsuboptimizingondersnthebureaucracyuthaveongsincepassedhepointofdiminishingarginaleturns. here reno more,ftherewereny,ilverulletshatwillslayhebureaucracydragonndmagicallymprove overnancen theUnitedStates.Mostofthedragonsavetarvedodeath;ewof thebullets itanything.Intellectuallyhefieldofpublic dministrationadewomis-takeshatontributedoourcurrent overnanceroblem.irst,nrejectinghepolitics/administrationichotomy,ublic dministra-tionwasunambitiousnits territoriallaims.sscholars, ewerehappyoarguehattheadministrativerocesswasnherentlypoliticalnd, herefore,econfined urtudy obureaucraticol-itics.Withafewexceptionse.g.,MazmanianndSabatier,989;LinderndPeters, 987),we have everecognizedhat hepoliti-calbranchesfgovernmentadadministrativeomponentsndthat herealroblemithhepolitics/administrationichotomysthatweonlytudypartf the policyrocess. hatwestudy oththepoliticalnd headministrativeithin hebureaucracys good,but tstillyields nncompleteiew fgovernance.Public dministrationeeds o overcomets badchoice n the
politics/administrationichotomy and returnto itspre-1950reformistoots.The field of publicadministration,pitomizedythe New YorkBureau fMunicipalResearch,as at one timepart
There
are omore,
f
hereereny,ilverulletsthatilllayheureaucracyragonndmagicallyimproveovernancen heUnitedtates.ostfhe
dragonsavetarvedodeath;ewf heulletsitnything.
ofalarger eform radition.Thattradition fpragmaticiberalismwithprogressivedeas(Anderson,990)producedhemeritsys-tem,the secretballot,directlectionofsenators,nd citymanagergovernment.t wasconcernedwithgovernance,otwith a narrowviewof publicadministration.Tocorrect urfirsterror,suggestweredefinehefieldofpub-licadministrationoencompasshedesign,valuation,ndmple-mentationofinstitutionsand publicpolicy. Bureaucratsuiteclearlyparticipaten settinghepolicy agendaMaynard-Moody,1995)andindesigning ublicprogramsn concertwith the elec-toralbranchesfgovernmentSabatierndJenkins-Smith,993).Thesetopicsshouldbeaddedo ourlong-termnterestsnpolicyevaluationndmplementation.The seconderror f ambitionmadeby academicublicadmin-istrationccurredontemporaneouslyithitsdeclarationfinde-pendence rompoliticalcience.6At theheightofthebehavioralrevolutionnpoliticalcience,publicadministrationightlyper-ceivedhatt wasunwantedn politicalcience Waldo,1987,94;also Brownand Stillman,1986).Manypublicadministrationscholarshiftedheiroyalties,therstayedwithinpoliticalciencewiththegoal ofrecreating nempiricalpublicadministrationwithinpolitical cience.7Thosewhoseparatedrompoliticalci-ence eftthebroadereformraditionopoliticalcientists,mplic-itly assuminghatastheyshiftedheirocustobureaucraticnsti-tutionsofgovernanceoliticalcientistswould continuetodealwiththe problemsfdemocracyttheinterface etweenbureau-cracyandelectoralnstitutions. oliticalcientistsnsteadocusedonindividual ehaviorn thequestor thedefinitivetudyofpres-identiallections.8ublicadministratorshoremainednpoliticalsciencebusilybuilta solidempiricaltudyofbureaucracy,uttheyalsoneglectedhepoliticalnstitutionsideofgovernance.herearenogreatnormativeheories fbureaucracyn politicalcience,by whichImeantheoriesaboutwhattheroleofbureaucracyshould e ingovernance.9Giventhese errorsf ambitionhebestadviceorcontempo-rarypublicadministrationcholarships theimmortaltatementfSenatorAikenofVermont n theVietnamWar:"Weshouldustdeclareictoryandgo home."Thosescholarswho leftpoliticalci-ence havecreatedvarietyfautonomousnstitutionshat,quitefrankly,warfhose npoliticalcience.Publicadministrationndpublicpolicyscholarswhoremainednpolitical sciencehavegainedhe respectf peers,builtabodyofscholarlyiterature,ndgainedaccessowhateverowerpoliticalscientistspossess.t istimeto gohome,hometothepublic administrationfLutherGulick,LewisBrowniow,eonardWhite,FrankGoodnow,W.F.Willoughby,'0wightWaldo,andHerbert imon.Herbertimon(1969)once notedthatpublicadministrations ascienceoftheartificial,oncernedotonly with howthingsarebut alsowith
194PublicAdministrationeview*May/June997,Vol. 57,No.3

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