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The Historical Context & its significance for Public Administration

The Historical Context & its significance for Public Administration

  • The history of a country marks a great influence on the ethical character of the governance system. The Spoils System in the USA during the initial phase of the American nation vitiated the ethical milieu of the American Public Administration.
  • To victor belong the spoils” asserted American President Andrew Jackson.
  • Things would have continued the same way had not a disgruntled job seeker assassinated President James Garfield in 1881. Garfield’s assassination spurred the process of civil service reforms in the USA, and the setting up of the US Civil Service Commission in 1883 was the first major step in this direction.
  • India has witnessed a long history of unethical practices in the governance system. Kautilya’s Arthashastra mentions a variety of corrupt practices in which the administrators of those times indulged themselves.
  • The Mughal Empire and the Indian princely rule were also afflicted with the corrupt practices of the courtiers and administrative functionaries, with ‘baksheesh’ being one of the accepted means of selling and buying favours.          The Historical Context & its significance for Public Administration
  • The East India Company too had its share of employees who were criticised even by the British parliamentarians for being corrupt.
  • The forces of probity and immorality co-exist in all phases of human history. Which forces are stronger depends upon the support these get from the prime actors of politico‑ administrative system.
  • What is disturbing is that a long legacy of unethical practices in governance is likely to enhance the tolerance level for administrative immorality.
  • In most developing nations having a colonial history, the chasm between the people and the government continues to be wide.
  • In the colonial era, the legitimacy of the governance was not accepted willingly by a majority of population and therefore, true loyalty to the rulers was a rare phenomenon.
  • Although the distance between the governing elite and the citizens has been reduced substantially in the transformed democratic regimes, yet the affinity and trust between the two has not been total even in the new dispensation.
  • Unfortunately, even the ruling elite do not seem to have imbibed the spirit of emotional unity with the citizens. The legacy of competitive collaboration between the people and the administrators still exists. This has an adverse impact on ‘administrative ethics’.          The Historical Context & its significance for Public Administration



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