chapter  4
Stewardship of Resources: Effectiveness
Pages 21

Effectiveness is a moral value, rooted in a utilitarian understanding of ethics. A simple formulation of a utilitarian approach is that we should choose policy alternatives that produce the greatest net benefi t. Those who govern have a moral obligation to be good stewards of public resources, to make effective use of those resources. The chapter on Benefi t discussed how to identify, value and measure policy results. On the positive side of the ledger are benefi ts, goods and services. On the negative side are costs, harms and risks. While policy makers can usually identify the benefi cial goals that they intend a policy to serve, the policy world is a world of tradeoffs. Benefi ts are rarely, if ever, secured without costs-often in the form of resources expended, restrictions on liberty, or loss of opportunities. We favor policies that not only produce benefi ts and avoid harms, but that do so in an effective way. After we have chosen ends that appear to offer benefi ts to the community, the search turns to the best means to achieve those ends.