In his 1961 Farewell Address, President Eisenhower famously referred to the emergence of a "military-industrial complex" so powerful that it threatened to warp America's political institutions and economy. However, the military was not the only part of a blended government workforce that was growing by leaps and bounds. Over the next half century, the true size of the federal government expanded in almost every department and agency as it came to depend on 7-9 million federal, contract, and grant employees to faithfully execute the laws.In The Government-Industrial Complex, public management expert Paul Light not only traces the expansion of the federal government's workforce over the past few decades, but also explains why it has taken the shape that it has. In marked contrast to governments in other wealthy countries, America's relies heavily on contract and grant employees to deliver goods and services even as the number of federal employees has held steady for seventy years. Light traces the rise of this government-industrial complex and asks whether and how the nation can be sure that the right people are in the right jobs to assure maximum performance for the public good. To do this, he offers short histories of the roles of various presidents and the impacts of war and economic crisis on the changing size of government. He also highlights the Trump administration's early strategies on downsizing and deconstructing government.Light emphasizes that achieving the right balance between public and private responsibilities is the key to making government both more efficient and more responsive. Comprehensive and pointed, this is a landmark account of the true nature and scope of national governance in the United States.
Oxford University Press; November 2018
- ISBN: 9780190851804
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
- Title: The Government-Industrial Complex
- Author: Paul C. Light
Imprint: Oxford University Press
About The Author
Paul C. Light is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service as well as a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Before joining NYU, he was vice president and director of governmental studies at the Brookings Institution, Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow, and founding director of its Center for Public Service. He has held teaching posts at the University of Virginia, University of Minnesota, and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was also senior adviser to the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee from 1987-1989, associate dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University ofMinnesota from 1989-1994, director of the public policy grant program at the Pew Charitable Trusts from 1995-1998. Light has written 25 books, including four national award winners, and is a recognized expert on government reform, legislative history, social innovation, and government by investigation.