Roberta Lynch

Recent Articles

Can Markets Govern?

Let's have responsive government, but in the end a citizen cannot be reduced to a consumer.

WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS ESSAY David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Reinventing Government (Addison-Wesley, 1992). Michael Barzelay, Breaking Through Bureaucracy (University of California Press, 1992). It's time to make our government work for the people, learn to do more with less and treat taxpayers like customers," according to Vice President Al Gore's report Creating a Government that Works Better and Costs Less. That sentiment springs almost full-blown from Reinventing Government , the surprise best-seller by David Osborne, a journalist, and Ted Gaebler, a local government consultant. On the thorny problem of government responsiveness, this book dominates the contemporary discourse. What ails the government, Osborne and Gaebler argue, is public sector "monopoly"; their remedy is to inject government at all levels with competition, substituting market mechanisms—such as contracting and vouchers—for public service provision. Their book addresses a nonpartisan audience and has...