Founders, the Constitution and Public Administration A Conflict in World Views

ISBN-10: 0878405828
ISBN-13: 9780878405824
Edition: 1995
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Description: Viewed alternately as an obstacle to justice, an impediment to efficient government, and a tool by which some groups gain benefits and privileges at the expense of others, public administration threatens to become the whipping boy of American  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.95
Copyright year: 1995
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 3/1/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.704
Language: English

Viewed alternately as an obstacle to justice, an impediment to efficient government, and a tool by which some groups gain benefits and privileges at the expense of others, public administration threatens to become the whipping boy of American government. In this innovative look at the nation's bureaucracy, Michael W. Spicer revisits the values of the Constitution in order to reconcile the administrative state to its many critics.Drawing on political and social philosophy, Spicer argues that there is a fundamental philosophical conflict over the role of reason in society between writers in public administration and the designers of the American Constitution. This examination of worldviews illuminates the problem that American government faces in trying to ground a legitimate public administration in the Constitution. Defending and developing the Founders' idea that political power, whatever its source, must be checked, he critically examines existing ideas about the role of public administration in American governance and offers an alternative vision of public administration more in line with the Founders' constitutional design. This book will provide fresh insights for anyone interested in the role of public administration in the United States today.

Preface
Introduction: The Uneasy Status of Public Administration
The Lack of Legitimacy of Public Administration
Why Worry About Legitimacy?
Public Administration and the U.S. Constitution
Critics of the Constitution
The Importance of Worldviews
The Purpose of this Work
The Relevance of this Work
Rationalist and Anti-rationalist Worldviews
The Rationalist Worldview
Rationalist Thought
The Anti-Rationalist Worldview
Anti-Rationalist Thought
The Worldviews of Public Administration and the Constitution
Rationalism and Public Administration: The Early Writers
Rationalism and Public Administration: Contemporary Writers
Anti-Rationalism and the Founders
On the Checking of Power: The Logic of a Constitution
Interests
Passions
Unintended Exploitation
Majority Rule
The Use of Knowledge
Visions of Public Administration
"Discretionists" and "Instrumentalists"
The Friedrich Argument
The Finer Argument
The Friedrich-Finer Debate and the Checking of Power
An Anti-rationalist Vision of Public Administration
Administrative Discretion and Checking Power
Modern Writings on Administration as a Check on Power
The Anglo-American Tradition of Administrative Discretion
Checking Administrative Power: Rules and Procedures
Checking Administrative Power: Citizen Participation
Inertia, Inflexibility and Impersonality
Constrained Discretion
The Ethics of Administrative Discretion
Anti-Rationalism and Ethics
Personal Honesty
Neutrality
Utility
Social Equity
Common-Law Reasoning
Consensus
Summary and Conclusion
The Contemporary Relevance of the Anti-Rationalist Vision
Anti-Rationalism in the Administrative State
Toward a New Perspective
References
Index

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