In Bring Back the Bureaucrats, John J. DiIulio Jr., one of America’s most respected political scientists and an adviser to presidents in both parties, summons the facts and statistics to show us how America’s big government actually works and why reforms that include adding a million more people to the federal workforce by 2035 might actually help to slow government’s growth while improving its performance.
Starting from the underreported reality that the size of the federal workforce hasn’t increased since the early 1960s even though the federal budget has skyrocketed and the number of federal programs has ballooned, Bring Back the Bureaucrats tells us what our elected leaders won’t: there simply are not enough federal workers to do work that’s critical to our democracy.
Government in America, DiIulio reveals, is Leviathan by Proxy, a grotesque form of debt-financed big government that guarantees bad government:
• Washington relies on state and local governments, for-profit firms, and nonprofit organizations to implement federal policies and programs. Big-city mayors, defense industry contractors, nonprofit executives and other federal proxies lobby incessantly for more federal spending.
• The proxy system chokes on chores as distinct as cleaning up toxic waste sites, caring for hospitalized veterans, collecting taxes, handling plutonium, and policing more than $100 billion a year in “improper payments.”
• The lack of enough competent, well-trained federal civil servants figured in the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina and in the troubled launch of Obamacare “health exchanges,” Bring Back the Bureaucrats is further distinguished by the presence of E. J. Dionne Jr. and Charles Murray, two of the most astute voices from the political left and right, respectively, who offer their candid responses to DiIulio at the end of the book.
A classic problem of social order prompts the central questions of this book: Why are some groups better able to govern themselves than others? Why do state actors sometimes delegate governing power to other bodies? How do different organizations including the state, the business community, and protection rackets come to govern different markets? Scholars have used both sociological and economic approaches to study these questions; here Timothy Frye argues for a different approach. He seeks to extend the theoretical and empirical scope of theories of self-governance beyond groups that exist in isolation from the state and suggests that social order is primarily a political problem.
Drawing on extensive interviews, surveys, and other sources, Frye addresses these question by studying five markets in contemporary Russia, including the currency futures, universal and specialized commodities, and equities markets. Using a model that depicts the effect of state policy on the prospects for self-governance, he tests theories of institutional performance and offers a political explanation for the creation of social capital, the formation of markets, and the source of legal institutions in the postcommunist world. In doing so, Frye makes a major contribution to the study of states and markets.
The book will be important reading for academic political scientists, economists (especially those who study the New Institutional Economics), legal scholars, sociologists, business-people, journalists, and students interested in transitions.
Timothy Frye is Assistant Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University.
Honore De Balzac Northwestern University Press, 1993 Library of Congress PQ2165.E4613 1993 | Dewey Decimal 843.7
The Bureaucrats (Les Employes) stands out in Balzac's immense Human Comedy by concentrating precisely and penetratingly on a distinctive "modern" institution: France's state bureaucracy. Rabourdin, aided by his unscrupulous wife, attempts to reorganize and streamline the entire system. Rabourdin's plan will halve the government's size while doubling its revenue. When the plan is leaked, Rabourdin's rival--an utter incompetent--gains the overwhelming support of the frightened and desperate body of low-ranking functionaries.
The novel contains the recognizable themes of Balzac's work: obsessive ambition, conspiracy and human pettiness, and a melodramatic struggle between the social good and the evils of folly and stupidity. It is also an unusual, dramatized analysis of a developing political institution and its role in shaping social class and mentality.
In uneasy partnership at the helm of the modern state stand elected party politicians and professional bureaucrats. This book is the first comprehensive comparison of these two powerful elites. In seven countries--the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, and the Netherlands--researchers questioned 700 bureaucrats and 6OO politicians in an effort to understand how their aims, attitudes, and ambitions differ within cultural settings.
One of the authors' most significant findings is that the worlds of these two elites overlap much more in the United States than in Europe. But throughout the West bureaucrats and politicians each wear special blinders and each have special virtues. In a well-ordered polity, the authors conclude, politicians articulate society's dreams and bureaucrats bring them gingerly to earth.
In this work Susan Socolow examines bureaucrats in early modern society by concentrating on those of Buenos Aires under the Bourbon reforms in the late colonial bureaucracy, Socolow studies the individuals who held positions in the colonial civil service—their recruitment, aspirations, job tenure, professional advancement, and economic position.
The late eighteenth century was a critical time for the southernmost regions of Latin America, for in this period they became a separate political entity, the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. Socolow's work, part of a continuing study of the political, economic, and social elites of the emerging city of Buenos Aires, here considers the bureaucracy put into place by the Bourbon reforms. The author examines the professional and personal circumstances of all bureaucrats, from the high-ranking heads of agencies to the more lowly clerks, contrasting their expectations and their actual experiences. She pays particular attention to their recruitment, promotion, salary, and retirement, as well as their marriage and kinship relationships in the local society.
The bureaucracy in the United States has a hand in almost all aspects of our lives, from the water we drink to the parts in our cars. For a force so influential and pervasive, however, this body of all nonelective government officials remains an enigmatic, impersonal entity.
The literature of bureaucratic theory is rife with contradictions and mysteries. Bureaucrats, Politics, and the Environment attempts to clarify some of these problems.
The authors surveyed the workers at two agencies: enforcement personnel from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and employees of the New Mexico Environment Department. By examining what they think about politics, the environment, their budgets, and the other institutions and agencies with which they interact, this work puts a face on the bureaucracy and provides an explanation for its actions.
How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and '80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation.
Some argue that these cultures are fundamentally similar and that the Spanish language is a natural basis for a unified Hispanic identity. But Mora shows very clearly that the idea of ethnic grouping was historically constructed and institutionalized in the United States. During the 1960 census, reports classified Latin American immigrants as “white,” grouping them with European Americans. Not only was this decision controversial, but also Latino activists claimed that this classification hindered their ability to portray their constituents as underrepresented minorities. Therefore, they called for a separate classification: Hispanic. Once these populations could be quantified, businesses saw opportunities and the media responded. Spanish-language television began to expand its reach to serve the now large, and newly unified, Hispanic community with news and entertainment programming. Through archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Mora reveals the broad, national-level process that led to the emergence of Hispanicity in America.
It’s a common complaint: the United States is overrun by rules and procedures that shackle professional judgment, have no valid purpose, and serve only to appease courts and lawyers. Charles R. Epp argues, however, that few Americans would want to return to an era without these legalistic policies, which in the 1970s helped bring recalcitrant bureaucracies into line with a growing national commitment to civil rights and individual dignity.
Focusing on three disparate policy areas—workplace sexual harassment, playground safety, and police brutality in both the United States and the United Kingdom—Epp explains how activists and professionals used legal liability, lawsuit-generated publicity, and innovative managerial ideas to pursue the implementation of new rights. Together, these strategies resulted in frameworks designed to make institutions accountable through intricate rules, employee training, and managerial oversight. Explaining how these practices became ubiquitous across bureaucratic organizations, Epp casts today’s legalistic state in an entirely new light.
Merriam's turkey is a bird native to the southern Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau, a subspecies that might seem at first blush an unlikely subject for intensive research. But as Harley Shaw well knows, no creature is exempt from the close scrutiny of biologists. Shaw is himself a research biologist perhaps best known for his book Soul among Lions. Although the wild turkey may be less charismatic than the puma, it offers an equal opportunity for Shaw to reflect on how we manage—or mismanage—wildlife. But while focusing on this big bird of the Southwest, his new book is really a field study of another rare species, the wildlife management professional. Stalking the Big Bird is a sober and seasoned view of what that rare breed is doing, and failing to do, in its efforts to protect the animals and landscapes that we love.
State and federal wildlife agencies have for some sixty years functioned under the belief that increased knowledge produced by research improves our ability to manage wildlife. Shaw suggests that the more we know about a species, the more difficult clear decisions may often become. He offers shrewd observations on the difficulties of interpreting and implementing research results in the face of pressures exerted by government bureaucracies, non-governmental organizations, and politically powerful loggers, ranchers, land developers, and environmentalists. He also shows that management of even a common game bird may be beyond the capabilities of responsible resource management agencies. Through stories about his own experiences studying Merriam's wild turkey—anecdotes about the foibles of field work and the bureaucratic boondoggles of wildlife management—Shaw reveals some of the complexities involved in wildlife research.
Drawing on a lifetime of work and reflection, his book shows that sound research and effective management of this animal—and, by extension, others—are severely hampered by political agendas, social misunderstandings, inappropriate research, and above all, human indifference. As entertaining as it is informative, Stalking the Big Bird will be of interest to environmentalists, hunters, and resource managers—or anyone confused by the practices of modern wildlife conservation. It will help both professionals and lay readers understand our relationship with one wild subspecies, and in the process get a better handle on the true goals in managing the wild.