Bureaucracy, Open Access and Social Pluralism: Returning the Common to the Goose

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Abstract

Bureaucracy has long been the object of fierce intellectual critique and political polemic. We argue that the defense of bureaucracy must be a qualified one. First, we recognise that many of grounds for bureaucracy critique are rational, and, secondly, identify more carefully those areas in which bureaucracy is the only possible bulwark against marketisation; against, ‘commodification’ and ‘colonisation of the lifeworld.’ To make the argument we use the notion of ‘commons’ and connect any defense of bureaucracy to the support, preservation and protection that the latter offers to commons. Within public choice theory (e.g. Hardin 1968), commons are identified with inherently inefficient public assets the neglect of which can only be remedied by further privatisation. We argue that such a reading is both descriptively unwarranted and prescriptively troublesome. According to our perspective, commons identify assets, interests and shared values that are not only independent of the market, but also represent pre-conditions for the efficient working of market institutions. In other words, we maintains that commons amount to what another classical source, namely Durkheim, refers to as the pre-contractual basis of contractual relations. Contemporary social theory has highlighted the explanatory relevance of those pre-contractual elements by identifying the role played by trust and social capital. Again following Durkheim, we then argue that commons cannot become the object of market transactions without undermining the social basis upon which such an institution rests. This framework provides, we shall argue, a way of identifying that limited sphere the protection of which demands bureaucratic control.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteThe Values of Bureaucracy
Pagine267-293
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2005

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bureaucracy
pluralism
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public choice
colonization
privatization
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social capital
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Values

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Bureaucracy, Open Access and Social Pluralism: Returning the Common to the Goose. / Palumbo, Antonino.

The Values of Bureaucracy. 2005. pag. 267-293.

Risultato della ricerca: Chapter

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