Bureaucracy and Self-Government: PA as Instrument and Institution–Cook

Thesis: Public administration not only provides advice in policy making for government, but also it is the executive agency, which implements policies. In this point, the public degree of satisfaction with PA represents their degree of satisfaction with the government. PA is the combination of instrumental reasoning and constitutive reasoning.

Introduction to PA:

  1. Why rethink the role of PA (the public lack of confidence in government)

Paradox of distance (government officials near at hand v.s. far away; clients of public bureaucracy v.s. federal government; nearer is more satisfying)

2. Instrumental and constitutive reasoning

a. Instrumental reasoning (means-end, Economic rationality, economizing)—is epistemological foundation of economics, market economy, in which everything in society is conceived of as the means to an ultimate end: human want satisfaction. (All practical questions are questions of means and ends)

b. Constitutive reasoning is reasoning about forms and purposes. It is reasoning about how to make something into what they wish it to be, or even deciding what it is they desire in the first place. It sets up goals for actions. It judges rationality of action.

3. Political institutions are the instruments for achieving some ultimate social goal or the vehicles for reaching some ideal social end-state. (Liberalism treats political institutions as an instrument for the achievement of largely private wants.)

a. The cornerstone of the “conception” is liberalism

b. The result of the influence of democratic progress

c. Political science

d. The Constitution and the mythology

4. Politics are the shape and substance of public life. Societal institutions can shape the manner in which individuals behave and the ends toward which they strive collectively.

a. Political institutions are constitutive in the sense that they are among the fundamental elements of the whole system of gov. and politics created by a constitution (regime).

b. Formative bearing of PIs:

  • Psychological and educational component, the effect is on individual attributes and character. PIs shape the political identities of citizens.
  • It exerts its influence at collective level, on the whole polity, providing the citizenry “an organized existence” (e.g. Baseball game). PIs make the rules; PIs are expression of rules; the rules define the regime and shape identities of citizens; humans activities (comply with the rules) give the rules meaning.

5. PA is a fundamental political institution. Building and teaching society, PA constantly presents people with political and moral choices that define and redefine good living. PA makes constitutional design, societal values, and public goals.

  • PA is constitutionally recognized component of the regime.
  • PA as a whole gives concrete, institutional embodiment to values critical to defining and sustaining the regime.
  • P agencies influence the ideas and interactions of citizens by shaping the public goals.
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