(Published in the “International Review of administrative sciences”, December 2017)

“ In 2006 I had the honour of giving the fifth Braibant lecture for the International Institute of Administrative Sciences. That discussion identified a need to rethink public administration. In reality, this is only a small part of the rethinking needed to prepare government and society for the challenges of the twenty-first century. There is a need to rethink the architecture and functioning of the social, economic and political state; for instance, to critically examine the assumption that innovation, productivity, employment and income growth work synergistically together. A clear-eyed diagnostic of the benefits of global trade and the costs of local dislocation is long overdue if government is to mitigate its impact for the most vulnerable in society and alleviate public fears about the future. There is also a need to articulate in contemporary terms what conditions contribute to the governance of open, pluralistic and democratic societies. Responding to challenging emerging trends will require reconciling in new ways individual interests with ambitious collective aspirations, rediscovering the irreplaceable contribution of the state and articulating a concept of that state adapted to serving in the twenty-first century. This is neither an overbearing nor a minimalist state but one with sufficient confidence in its role to serve the collective interest. This article is an invitation to rethink the modern state, reframe our expectations for a well-performing society and economy, and reinvent in contemporary terms what it means to be a part of a modern, liberal, pluralistic and democratic society.” (Jocelyne Bourgon)

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