The Emerging Challenges to Bureaucratic Accountability: A Critical Perspective
This chapter examines the nature of the contemporary challenges to bureaucratic accountability from the perspective of social power structure. The hallmark of public bureaucracy is its accountability to the public for its policies and actions. Without the realization of such accountability, public bureaucracy loses its identity of publicness, surrenders its public legitimacy, and may relegate itself to the fetish of self-seeking private interests. It is the very abstraction of public interest into the generalized will of the polity and the conscious sunender of public resources for the actualization of the state policies that justify the need for bureaucratic accountability or accountability of the state bureaucracy to the public. Bureaucratic accountability and bureaucratic power are negatively correlated: as the power of bureaucracy increases in relation to the power of people and their representatives, the realization of accountability becomes more difficult. The challenges to bureaucratic accountability are rooted not only in politicoadministrative institutions but also in socioeconomic structures.