Getting at the Essence of the Administrative State
A theory of public administration would entail a theory of the administrative state, something more than a theory of government but less than a theory of collective action. The discipline of public administration has concentrated on the emergence of the administrative state, virtually ignoring anything that preceded it. The state, and certainly the administrative state, is to operate in pursuit of the common good, the general welfare, and the overall quality of life for present and future generations, the collective realization of social values and rights: that is, those factors which affect all more or less equally and in the same way. The administrative state is an instrument for furthering the general interest, and its officials are servants of the public. The role of the citizen is another building block which is rapidly being completed, after much neglect. The public in public administration has at last begun to receive as much attention as the administration.