Bureaucratic Responsibility

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A civil servant in the Pentagon blows the whistle on the Defense Department by leaking to the press stories of gross overspending. A high-level official in the Environmental Protection Agency publicly reports irregularities in the handling of toxic waste cleanup and the agency's head is forced to resign. The Energy Department fines oil companies for overcharging consumers; does an official overstep his bounds in ordering that the money be distributed to help the poor and elderly pay their heating bills? How much do bureaucrats know? And how much should they tell? In Bureaucratic Responsibility , John Burke moves from case study to theory to explore what is perhaps the most basic problem confronting modern democracy: How are we to make those bureaucracies upon which government relies both accountable and responsive? Responsibility, Burke contends, must not be primarily to the formally defined terms and obligations of a particular office, but to the institutions of American democracy and the public consent. Bureaucratic Responsibility is a provocative combination of descriptive analysis, political theory, and prescriptive speculation-- and makes a timely case for a more responsible bureaucracy.