Role of People-Responsive Bureaucracy in a Robust Public Economy

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  • Article: Bureaucracy shouldn’t be a dirty word: the role of people-responsive bureaucracy in a robust public economy. By Janine R. Wedel. real-world economics review, issue no. 84, 2018

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"Bureaucracy, government, and practically all things “public” are under enormous siege in the age of Trump. This comes at an already perilous moment. Over the past several decades, government reform, privatization, checklist-type “accountability,” and digitization, among other developments, have reorganized governance in a way that has weakened public institutions, apparently making them less responsive to the people they are supposed to serve. The status quo may well be connected to the collapse of public trust; wholesale disaffection is surely a key reason that voters have elected the likes of Trump and counterparts elsewhere. Now at the helm, Trump is further attacking the already weakened pillars of democratic society.

To help remedy this state of affairs, the “public” must come back as a virtue.

Establishing a vibrant public economy relies on a well-functioning bureaucracy that truly serves people. We need to reconsider developments such as the outsourcing of government functions and the prevailing checklist approach to accountability. True accountability cannot be reduced to metrics that are poorly conceived, encourage appearances over truth, obscure the broader picture, and are severed from larger institutional knowledge and public trust.

A robust public economy is needed to help restore public trust. No democratic society can survive indefinitely without it."