What Is Government Good At?

What Is Government Good At?

A Canadian Answer

Book - 2015
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"The public's support for government has plummeted alongside political leaders' credibility. This downward spiral calls for an exploration of what has gone wrong. The questions, "What is government good at?" and "What is government not good at?" are critical ones -- and their answers should be the basis for good public policy and public administration. Donald Savoie argues that politicians and public servants are good at generating and avoiding blame, playing to a segment of the population to win the next election, embracing and defending the status quo, adding management layers and staff, keeping ministers out of trouble, responding to demands from the prime minister and his office, and managing a complex, prime minister-centred organization. Conversely, they are not as good at defining the broader public interest, providing and recognizing evidence-based policy advice, managing human and financial resources with efficiency and frugality, innovating and reforming itself, being accountable to Parliament and to citizens, dealing with non-performers, paying sufficient attention to service delivery, and implementing and evaluating the impact of policies and programs. With wide implications for representative democracy, this is a persuasive analysis of an approach to government that has opened the door to those with the resources to influence policy and decision-making while leaving average citizens on the outside looking in. Donald J. Savoie holds the Canada Research Chair in public administration and governance at the Université de Moncton and is the author of numerous books including Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher?"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Montreal ; Kingston : McGill-Queen's University Press, ©2015
ISBN: 9780773546219
Branch Call Number: 351.71 SAV 2015
Characteristics: xii, 369 pages ; 24 cm


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Aug 03, 2016

Poorly written, repetitive, full of trite and flippant comments, and undocumented common sense ideas, but little in the way of scholarly research. Disappointing. If this is the best that our senior scholar can do, no wonder our government is in such trouble.

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