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Public Administration And Public Interest Issues

1728 words - 7 pages

One of the political functions of public administration is implementing the public interest. Public interest is generally presumed to be commonly accepted good. In ideal world, clear eyes and rational minds are common enough to produce what is commonly good. John Rawls’ veil of ignorance is an example of it. If you are behind a veil and don’t know what group of society you belongs to, you would make the best unbiased decision for common. But in real world, where individuals have political leanings and self-interests, it is really difficult to find a common accepted good. If we live in democracy where the legislative body is determined by votes of citizens that form the society, we should assume that the legislative body will produce public interest disinterestedly by considering constituencies’ preferences. But we know it is nearly impossible. Therefore, it is one the most controversial areas of public administration. Public interest can be observed in two different phases: Decision-making process and implementation. How it will be created and how it is implemented? In my opinion, here is the most important criteria is the time and technology. Time changes perceptions of citizens and administrators. Technology increases the individuals’ access to information and makes it possible analyze the data faster. Today, citizens can reach the information at the decision-making and implementation process easily. This fact changes the attitudes toward public interest faster than the leaders or administrators would change their attitudes on their own consent.
In the classic public administration, the public interest is politically defined and expressed in laws. There was a huge concentration on terms of neutrality, expertise, efficiency, and dichotomy in the term. It meant to people that the public interest is found in the rationalization of the decisional process where human discretion is minimized. They provided neutrality and minimized discretion by political expertise. Wilson’s dichotomy asserted that the decision is made by elected officials and it is implemented by administrators in a top-down process. In this context, he thought the public interest is the domain of political leaders. Administrators are given a passive role: implementing the public will most efficiently. Efficiency means the lowest cost per unit. And it is believed to be achievable only by scientific management. This dichotomy of decision-making and implementation implies the Weber’s bureaucratic structure with its all hierarchical structure in determining public will. The ultimate decision is an interplay of legislatives and interest groups. You can affect the policies in extent to how much you have power in the process.
In the new public management, the public interest is considered with entrepreneurial mindset. In a market-like arena, the government should respond the aggregate of individual interests. Therefore government-citizens/clients metaphor transformed into market-customer...

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