I visited the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City on October 20-21 to participate in events marking the 40th anniversary of their Masters degree in Public Policy and Administration. Details here. I participated in a panel on October 20 that examined the question: Does ‘Public Management studies’ have a future? A recording of my brief comments can be heard here.
I gave a talk at the University of Kansas’ School of Public Affairs and Administration on October 13. Listen to the talk here. The talk was based on my working paper, “Blind Men and an Elephant: Three Partial Views of Public Administration.” Download the paper from SSRN. A copy of the Powerpoint slides for this talk can be downloaded here. I also talked with some of the School’s PhD students (right).
Early reviews for Four Crises of American Democracy, from the Oxford University Press website:
“Already among our foremost observers of global capitalism, economic policymaking, and the information age, Alasdair Roberts in his latest book expertly details four periods of crisis of American democracy across the past hundred-plus years. The reassuring news: the parlous state of our current national politics has ample historical precedent-and the republic survives. The better news: each crisis period contained the seeds of democratic renewal, providing genuine hope for our own future. Roberts’s clarion voice is one that deserves a full hearing from U.S. officialdom and citizenry alike.”- Rogan Kersh, Provost and Professor of Politics & International Affairs, Wake Forest University
“In this sharp and insightful analysis, Roberts takes dead aim at a central puzzle of our time: is American democracy so sick that it risks sliding deeply into chaos, even oblivion? The book takes measured stock of the challenges democracy faces. But even more important, Roberts finds that democracy has faced big crises before and has found within itself what it takes to conquer them. The result is an exceptionally clear-eyed look at the issues we face and how we can solve them. It’s must reading-especially for those trapped in despair about our system of government.”-Donald F. Kettl, Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland
In the current issue of New Left Review, Malcolm Bull discusses my 2013 book, The End of Protest. Go to the article. Bull writes: “There have been places, notably neo-liberal core countries like the USA and UK, where political protests have been small, sporadic and ineffectual. . . . In The End of Protest, Alasdair Roberts attributes this change to the growing intolerance of public unrest in market societies, and the effectiveness of policies of repression (legal changes with strengthened police forces to enforce them) and containment (the manipulation of urban space, enhanced surveillance and kettling), combined with economic appeasement (fiscal stimulus and quantitative easing) carried out by technocrats at central banks rather than the government itself. The result has been the atrophy of traditional forms of mass organization and the failure of new forms of networked protest to take their place.” The End of Protest will be available in paperback from Cornell University Press in November.
My 2008 book The Collapse of Fortress Bush, published by New York University Press, is now available on Kindle. Details here. Kirkus Reviews called the book “A trenchant analysis of the last eight years of American political history. . . . A work of rare insight that fills gaps glaringly evident in most public discourse.” Choice said: “Roberts’ sound judgment and expertise in the field of public administration make this an excellent primer on governance in the Bush years.”
In the current issue of Public Administration Quarterly, Chester Robinson and Gloria Billingsley discuss my 2013 monograph Large Forces: What’s Missing in Public Administration: “Many problems on the public policy agenda reflect environmental factors, including political, economic, shifts in populations from farms to cities, and social conventions, some of which our society and leaders are not eager to take on. Alasdair Roberts, and other organic theorists, see the country’s policy decisions as being buffered by these powerful forces. To them, it seems impossible to fully understand the actions of government without studying the large forces that caused the problem to come into being. What government does, and how it does it, cannot be explained without accounting for the pressure applied by these forces. Large forces scholarship helps us to produce rigorous, persuasive and contextual answers to public policy issues.” Read their article.
On Baidu.com, Lihua Fang discusses my 2013 monograph, Large Forces: What’s Missing in Public Administration. Read Fang’s comment in Chinese. Read the Google translation.
I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on the future of access to information at the Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Information and Privacy Law Symposium in Ottawa on October 28. The program is here.