The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe

The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe

The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe

The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe


This book is a contribution to the study of comparative government; it is an attempt to write a text book for a subject which does not yet exist.

Certain hurdles may not have been cleared. First, in many countries in Europe the study of public administration has been dominated by lawyers. The political scientist will not find in printed sources much assistance in answering the questions he wants to ask. The only solution is to live in each country and do some original work. The reader of this book should therefore be warned against the obvious dangers of partiality, prejudice, and personal assessments. To people reading about their own country critical friendliness may easily appear to be plain unfriendliness. If all foreign readers feel this, I have probably succeeded in being just.

Second, of the various possible methods of presentation, I have chosen that which emphasises the advantages of a single author. A country by country survey is best done in a symposium dominated by a powerful editor; an encyclopaedia of detailed facts, either by a research team or by someone who has been guaranteed long life. A single author can dominate his material in a way impossible for an editor, and choose the points he wishes to attack in depth. Provided he chooses the right subjects there is a unity of treatment not possible in a symposium.

Third, each subject dealt with in this book justifies a separate book for each country. In order to make the material manageable and intelligible it has had to be drastically compressed. I hope that nothing of major importance has been lost in the process. In general, the method I have used has been to state the standard practice where there is one, and to draw attention to other examples which seem to be important, exceptional or very interesting.

Fourth, only a professional linguist can work competently in eight languages. Not being a professional linguist I have always preferred to be accurate rather than elegant in translations. Whenever there is any likelihood of difficulty or confusion I have left the names of institutions in their original language. Attempts to translate are more often misleading than helpful.

It would be quite impossible properly to acknowledge all the . . .

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