Democracy and Public Management Reform: Building the Republican State

Democracy and Public Management Reform: Building the Republican State

Democracy and Public Management Reform: Building the Republican State

Democracy and Public Management Reform: Building the Republican State

Synopsis

Building the Republican State is an insightful analysis of the new state and the new public management that is emerging in the twenty-first century. It presents the historical stages that led to the modern state, identifies a crisis of the nation-state and its origins in a fiscal crisis andin globalization, and situates public management in the last phase - the social-liberal and republican state. To understand such stages the author develops the theory of republican rights, as a fourth type of citizenship right, after the civil, the political, and the social rights. The book contains an original model of reform, in which the roles of the state, the forms of ownership, the types of public administration, and the organizational-institutions indicated in each situation are put together. Additionally, the book discusses the political theories behind the reform, andits political implications. Throughout the book, the author underlines the complementary roles of markets and the state, and the importance of building state capacity to assure administrative efficiency, always having in count the 'democratic constraint', i.e., the prevalence of the political overthe economic realm. This is essential reading both for those studying political theory and government reform, as well as for anyone interested in state politics and globalization.

Excerpt

Concepts like nation-state, civil society, public sphere, state organization, institutions, government, and public management belong to the political realm of society, while markets, business enterprises, and consumers are in the economic realm. The two spheres are interrelated, but it is important to distinguish them when one tries to define the core characteristics of the new state and of the new public management that is emerging. These characteristics will be essentially political, because they are the outcome of the conflicts, arguments, and compromises in which people are daily engaged. They embody decisions taken by citizens in the realm of civil society and, eventually, by politicians and senior civil servants in the realm of the state itself, in order to create and reform institutions, to organize the state apparatus, and to shape its public administration. Such decisions are building a new state which, besides being democratic, liberal, and social, is republican because it asserts republican rights and involves the political participation of republican citizens.

Politics is the art of achieving legitimacy and running the state through either negotiation and argument or compromise and persuasion rather than sheer force. Whereas in markets producers and consumers try to promote their interests to the greatest possible degree, in politics, besides interests, it is necessary also to consider values. In markets there is a quasi-automatic and relatively efficient competitive mechanism allocating resources and distributing benefits, while in the political sphere nothing is automatic or given. Everything happens through decisions which face constraints—economic and institutional—, but which are not 'necessary' since they involve choice, respond to interests, and refer to moral principles. In a democratic regime, the formation of citizens' wills and representatives' decisions are preceded and clarified by public debate. Citizens cannot be concerned only with their self-interest. Given that societies can exist only when conflict and cooperation are combined dialectically, a reasonable percentage of citizens is also supposed to nurture feelings of solidarity towards others or to possess some republican virtues. On the other hand, the growth of the state apparatus involved the rise of a powerful group of bureaucrats and politicians, whose role, in a democracy, is to protect citizens' rights, and to develop lasting institutions and temporary public policies aiming at social order, freedom, social justice, and welfare.

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