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The Unsustainable Demise of Public Administration

Francesco P. Cerase
Administrative Theory & Praxis
Vol. 21, No. 4, Millennium Issue (Dec., 1999), pp. 419-426
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25611379
Page Count: 8
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The Unsustainable Demise of Public Administration
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Abstract

This paper explores the further implications of adopting market and managerial principles in conducting public action. The focus is on the risk of losing sight of public interest, blurring the distinctiveness of publicness and turning citizens into customers. Furthermore, the paper argues that behind the curtain which announces the triumphant advance of marketization and managerialism the scene is quite confused both on the side of theory and on that of action plans. With the demise of the public sector, the dismantling of the public administration and its regulative buffers, the new century may find itself with a much higher degree of social inequality and a much more defenseless citizen than the developments of the previous one had produced. As an answer, a move for the recovery and come-back of public administration is foreseeable and here lies the challenge to administrative theory and practice. The challenge concerns reinventing government—this time by reinstating a notion of publicness—and it concerns public administrators' ethos and practice. But a third issue underlies the first two, and it concerns agency. Who is going to pick up the challenge?

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