Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector

Synopsis

A revolution is stirring in America. People are angry at governments that spend more but deliver less, frustrated with bureaucracies that give them no control, and tired of politicians who raise taxes and cut services but fail to solve the problems we face. Reinventing Government is both a call to arms in the revolt against bureaucratic malaise and a guide to those who want to build something better. It shows that there is a third way: that the options are not simply liberal or conservative, but that our systems of governance can be fundamentally reframed; that a caring government can still function as efficiently and productively as the best-run businesses. Authors Osborne and Gaebler describe school districts that have used choice, empowerment, and competition to quadruple their students' performance; sanitation departments that have cut their costs in half and now beat the private sector in head-to-head competition; military commands that have slashed red tape, decentralized authority, and doubled the effectiveness of their troops. They describe a fundamental reinvention of government already underway- in part beneath the bright lights of Capitol Hill, but more often in the states and cities and school districts of America, where the real work of government goes on. From Phoenix to St. Paul, Washington, D. C. to Washington state, entrepreneurial public managers have discarded budget systems that encourage managers to waste money, scrapped civil service systems developed for the nineteenth century, and jettisoned bureaucracies built for the 1930s. They have replaced these industrial-age systems with more decentralized, more entrepreneurial, more responsive organizations designed for the rapidly changing, information-rich world of the 1990s. Osborne and Gaebler isolate and describe ten principles around which entrepreneurial public organizations are built. They:1) steer more than they row2) empower communities rather than simply deliver services3) encourage competition rather than monopoly4) are driven by their missions, not their rules5) fund outcomes rather than inputs6) meet the needs of the customer, not the bureaucracy7) concentrate on earning, not just spending8) invest in prevention rather than cure9) decentralize authority10) solve problems by leveraging the marketplace, rather than simple creating public programs. Reinventing Government is not a partisan book. It focuses not on what government should do, but on how government should work. As such, it has been embraced by both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans.

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