The Job of Government: Interweaving Public Functions and Private Hands

Source: Donald F. Kettl, Public Administration Review, Vol. 75 Issue 2, March/April 2015
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From the abstract:
Lively and sometimes raucous debate about the job of government has increasingly engulfed American politics. Much of that debate has swirled around government’s size, with conservatives arguing the case for shrinking government and liberals fighting to grow it. In reality, however, neither of these debates engages the critical underlying trend: the increasing interweaving of governmental functions deeply into every fiber of the nongovernmental sectors. Many reforms have sought to rein in government’s power, but none has engaged the fundamental interweaving of policy implementation, and, not surprisingly, most have failed. Indeed, many have eroded the public’s trust in the governmental institutions on which they depend. This process raises fundamental challenges for defining government’s core role, for building the capacity to govern effectively, and for enhancing the accountability of governmental programs. Many of government’s administrative tools are a poor match for the governance problems they seek to solve.