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The End of Government . . . As We Know It: Making Public Policy Work

Elaine C. Kamarck
The End of Government . . . As We Know It: Making Public Policy Work
ISBN: 978-1-58826-469-5
ISBN: 978-1-58826-494-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-579-6
2007/157 pages/LC: 2006024835
"An excellent review and analysis of international and US public policy adaptation to new technology....All readers."—Choice

"A plain-spoken, serious-minded plethora of twenty-first century solutions to problems compounded by bureaucratic quagmires left over from the twentieth century. Highly recommended, especially for anyone active in local, state, or federal government."—Midwest Book Review

"Elaine Kamarck shows us what we can expect if we want to go beyond the tired rhetoric of left and right to create a government capable of dealing with all the new challenges of this new century. She has had more practical experience with this challenge...than anyone else in the world."—Al Gore, former vice president of the United States

"This important book examines how bureaucracy can be updated to deal with the quickly evolving demands of the twenty-first century and also uses real-world examples to help us understand how new alternatives can best be applied."—Richard W. Waterman, University of Kentucky

"Kamarck properly emphasizes the crucial importance of implementation for achieving results and makes clear that there are alternatives to creating yet another bureaucracy, shuffling the boxes on the organization chart, or creating another layer of management. Any member of Congress who takes congressional oversight seriously—and shouldn't they all?—would certainly benefit from reading this book."—James Davis, Washington University in St. Louis



In the last decades of the twentieth century, many political leaders declared that government was, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "the problem, not the solution." But on closer inspection, argues Elaine Kamarck, the revolt against government was and is a revolt against bureaucracy—a revolt that has taken place in first world, developing, and avowedly communist countries alike.

To some, this looks like the end of government. Kamarck, however, counters that what we are seeing is the replacement of the traditional bureaucratic approach with new models more in keeping with the information age economy. The End of Government explores the emerging contours of this new, postbureaucratic state—the sequel to government as we know it—considering: What forms will it take? Will it work in all policy arenas? Will it serve democratic ideals more effectively than did the bureaucratic state of the previous century? Perhaps most significantly, how will leadership be redefined in these new circumstances?

Kamarck's provocative work makes it clear that, in addition to figuring out what to do, today's government leaders face an unprecedented number of options when it comes to how to do things. The challenge of government increasingly will be to choose an implementation mode, match it to a policy problem, and manage it well in the postbureaucratic world.


Elaine C. Kamarck is lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.


  • The Revolution in Governing.
  • Matching Means to Ends.
  • Democratic Accountability.
  • The Problem with the Bureaucratic Instinct.
  • The Reinvented Public Sector.
  • Government by Network.
  • Government by Market.
  • Leadership in Twenty-First-Century Government.