Ideas and Issues in Public Administration

Ideas and Issues in Public Administration

Ideas and Issues in Public Administration

Ideas and Issues in Public Administration

Excerpt

The following account of a mine disaster was written by a journalist. But it is not only superb journalism, it is one of the best essays on administration in any language. For the writer has not only told the "human" story of the violent deaths of 111 men; he has also -- soberly, fairly, and carefully -- tried to answer the questions: How did the disaster happen? Why?

In his attempt to find the cause of the blast at Centralia No. 5 the journalist lays bare the administrative vitals of our society. Time after time a person who has participated in administration finds himself saying as he reads, "Yes, that's the way it is -- how often have I seen that!" Again and again there is faithfully pictured a typical administrative procedure or relationship.

What caused the fatal blast? The socialist will find in the analysis strong support for his belief that private ownership of such things as mines is evil. The men died, he will conclude, because the owner and managers were more interested in profits than in lives. Is this really true? Perhaps, in part. But if it is true in part, certainly it is only in part. For what is brilliantly illuminated by Mr. Martin's essay is that the problems of how to run our large-scale, technological society transcend economic systems.

Even if it were to be admitted -- and most people do not believe it -- that such impulses as greed would be abolished or held in check by the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, the problems of administration clearly transcend the problems of evil impulse. These problems involve, for example, human ignorance and human inertia. They involve problems in social mechanics and personal relations. The experienced student of administration will find it hard to believe that the administrative . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.