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Choice for the left

Public service reform is not undermining the public sector. But the pro-choice left needs to make its case

By Philip Collins   April 2004

The public domain, argues David Marquand in his new book, Decline of the Public, needs reinventing. It needs reinventing so that it can be rid of inappropriate devices such as market proxies and performance targets, the things made fashionable by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler’s book Reinventing Government, published in America ten years ago. This kind of reform, says Marquand, consumes the trust on which a civilised polity depends. The techniques of improvement (targets, league tables, pay for results) that are virtues in a market domain become vices in the public domain. A panoply of centralised control and inspection has…

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