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McGill Law Journal/Revue de Droit de McGill. Volume 42, Number 1 (1997), p. 29-61.


The "New Economy", with its attendant trends and consequences, presents a number of distinct chal- lenges to Canadian public administration. The key features of the New Economy - changes in technol- ogy and the social organization of work, globalization and regional economic integration, and shifts in the boundary between the state and civil society - de- mand a reconsideration of the ways in which we have previously thought about bureaucracy, government, and the role of the interventionist state. These changes in our political economy have profoundly destabilized Canadian public administration and require us to find new ways to cope with their collective effects. The so- lutions we choose will dictate what our public admini- stration will look like in the New Economy, in this, the "declining age" of the Canadian state. In addition to exploring the impact of the New Economy on public administration, the author also considers how various strategies said to be appropriate for its reform are likely to play themselves out in the context of the New Economy. Traditionally, the three main strategies that have been proposed for the reform of public administration are increased legal control of the administration, enhanced professionalism in the public service, and greater democratic participation. The author suggests that these strategies are outmoded and will not likely be successful in the context of the New Economy. A fourth strategy, of more recent vin- tage, is that of reinventing public administration as a market. The author concludes that this strategy of "marketization" will result in dramatic changes in the way we view the role of government and public ad- ministration.

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