The Founders, the Constitution, and Public Administration: A Conflict in World Views (Google eBook)

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Georgetown University Press, Mar 1, 1995 - Political Science - 128 pages
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Viewed alternately as an obstacle to justice, an impediment to efficient government, and a tool by which some groups gain benefits and privileges at the expense of others, public administration threatens to become the whipping boy of American government. In this innovative look at the nation's bureaucracy, Michael W. Spicer revisits the values of the Constitution in order to reconcile the administrative state to its many critics.

Drawing on political and social philosophy, Spicer argues that there is a fundamental philosophical conflict over the role of reason in society between writers in public administration and the designers of the American Constitution. This examination of worldviews illuminates the problem that American government faces in trying to ground a legitimate public administration in the Constitution. Defending and developing the Founders' idea that political power, whatever its source, must be checked, he critically examines existing ideas about the role of public administration in American governance and offers an alternative vision of public administration more in line with the Founders' constitutional design. This book will provide fresh insights for anyone interested in the role of public administration in the United States today.

  

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Contents

Introduction The Uneasy Status of Public Administration
1
THE LACK OF LEGITIMACY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
2
WHY WORRY ABOUT LEGITIMACY?
4
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND THE US CONSTITUTION
5
CRITICS OF THE CONSTITUTION
7
THE IMPORTANCE OF WORLDVIEWS
9
THE PURPOSE OF THIS WORK
10
THE RELEVANCE OF THIS WORK
11
THE FINER ARGUMENT
59
THE FRIEDRICHFINER DEBATE AND THE CHECKING OF POWER
62
CONCLUSION
66
An Antirationalist Vision of Public Administration
67
MODERN WRITINGS ON ADMINISTRATION AS A CHECK ON POWER
69
THE ANGLOAMERICAN TRADITION OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION
71
RULES AND PROCEDURES
73
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
76

Rationalist and Antirationalist Worldviews
13
THE RATIONALIST WORLDVIEW
14
RATIONALIST THOUGHT
15
THE ANTIRATIONALIST WORLDVIEW
20
ANTIRATIONALIST THOUGHT
21
SUMMARY
25
The Worldviews of Public Administration and the Constitution
26
CONTEMPORARY WRITERS
30
ANTIRATIONALISM AND THE FOUNDERS
34
CONCLUSION
39
On the Checking of Power The Logic of a Constitution
41
PASSIONS
45
UNINTENDED EXPLOITATION
46
MAJORITY RULE
48
THE USE OF KNOWLEDGE
50
CONCLUSION
53
Visions of Public Administration
54
THE FRIEDRICH ARGUMENT
55
INERTIA INFLEXIBILITY AND IMPERSONALITY
78
CONSTRAINED DISCRETION
79
The Ethics of Administrative Discretion
81
PERSONAL HONESTY
82
NEUTRALITY
84
UTILITY
86
SOCIAL EQUITY
87
COMMONLAW REASONING
89
CONSENSUS
93
SUMMARY
95
Summary and Conclusion
97
THE CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE OF THE ANTIRATIONALIST VISION
98
ANTIRATIONALISM IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE
100
TOWARD A NEW PERSPECTIVE
102
References
105
Index
111
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Michael W. Spicer is a professor of public administration and urban affairs at the Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University.

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