Depression, Recovery and Higher Education: A Report by Committee Y of the American Association of University Professors. The Draft of This Report Was Prepared by Malcolm M. Willey

By Malcolm M. Willey; American Association of University Professors | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
DEPRESSION ASPECTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN RELATION TO STATE LEGISLATION

THE reorganization of state governments cannot be effected without involving the public institutions of higher education. Reorganization of the administrative machinery through which the states perform their functions is not something new. States have constantly modified and adapted their organization to meet changing needs and social conditions, even though at times the inertia in doing so is great. The activities undertaken by the state have expanded, especially in recent years. Responsibilities regarded as purely local, or even personal, a generation ago, are now accepted by state departments. Increases of population, the introduction of new forms of communication, the application of science in many spheres of life--these are but three sets of factors that help to explain why it has become essential for the state to assume new functions. The number of these functions has multiplied greatly since the beginning of the present century.1 Year by year, the machinery of government has grown and become more complex. The development ordinarily follows no carefully prepared plan. The result is that an intricate and awkward organization comes into being, characterized by overlapping, an illogical division of labor, and varying degrees of inefficiency.2 Eventually, agitation for change develops. In this country the impetus to reorganization of state governments became effective in 1917, and mounted from 1919 to 1925. The agitation may have its origin in the exposure of political corruption; it may arise from a sincere interest in better government; it may follow in the wake of a political upheaval; it may spring from uneven distribution of political power; or it may be engendered by some financial crisis. It is as an aspect of the last possibility that depression has one direct effect upon the machinery of government. Curtailment of income, in the face of mounting costs of carrying on government activity, leads naturally to the question of whether or not

____________________
1
Cf. CARROLL H. WOODDY, "The Growth of Governmental Functions," Chap. XXV in Recent Social Trends, Vol. II, pp. 1274-1330.
2
Cf. LEONARD D. WHITE, "Public Administration," Chap. XXVII in Recent Social Trends, Vol. II, especially pp. 1402-1410.

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