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About this book

An exploration of the implications of the 'good governance' agendas for developing and newly democratized countries. The book assesses the 'good governance' agenda and examines the view of the international development agencies. Finally it considers the contribution political science can make to an understanding of each dimension of governance.

Table of Contents

1. Governance Agendas

Abstract
Much official development assistance comes with conditions attached, whether the aid be in the form of grants, soft loans, mixed credits or technical assistance, and whether the donors be bilateral (nation-states such as the USA and the UK) or multilateral (international agencies such as the World Bank or the European Development Fund). Conditionalities have included requirements to target the aid at specified social groups (such as the poor), the tying of aid to the purchase of goods and services from the donor country, and structural adjustments to the recipient economy (notably public sector reform and trade liberalization). Even before the introduction of specifically political conditionalities, government in the recipient country has always been heavily influenced by the presence of aid if only through its effects on public policy.
B. C. Smith

2. Political Accountability

Abstract
Most aid donors are convinced that the achievement of development objectives is likely to be assisted by stronger forms of political accountability. Political accountability is linked to human development because it is a necessary condition for democracy. However, leading aid agencies have also linked accountability to more precise objectives, especially the reduction of corruption and poverty.
B. C. Smith

3. Human Rights

Abstract
Human rights are claims to entitlements that are held to be morally defensible regardless of the law in any particular sovereign state. They are often thought to be universal — that is, defensible for all people everywhere, regardless of local cultural and historical circumstances. Rights are claims for action or inaction against institutions capable of meeting such claims. They are extensively claims against the state which has the power to prevent violations of human rights by its own agencies or other powerful social and economic institutions, such as organized religion or industrial corporations. Rights claim that others should act in a particular way, or refrain from acting in ways which restrict the enjoyment of what is claimed, such as freedom of speech. Rights logically imply duties, again normally on the part of states or their governments. They are part of a relationship governed by moral rules (Plamenatz, 1968). Historically human rights have always constituted a challenge to the prevailing political order, nationally or (increasingly today) globally.
B. C. Smith

4. The Rule of Law

Abstract
Technical assistance to establish the rule of law is an important part of multilateral and bilateral aid in support of good governance, though bilateral donors have greater freedom to impose political conditions which acknowledge the significance of the rule of law for democratic politics and human rights (Faundez, 1997). The World Bank has taken the lead since 1980, though under restrictions imposed by its articles of agreement, limiting its formal role to capacity-building and the development of laws needed for the establishment of a market economy. The Bank regards a ‘foundation of law’ as essential for the development of markets, the protection of property rights and economic development generally. Its first priority in poor countries is ‘to lay the initial building blocks of lawfulness: protection of life and property from criminal acts, restraints on arbitrary action by government officials, and a judicial system that is fair and predictable’. When the rule of law is weakened by ‘arbitrary and capricious state action’, state officials can place themselves above the law, and development ‘hits a brick wall’ (World Bank, 1997: 45, 99). The rule of law is also seen as contributing to social stability, a necessary condition for economic development. The legal framework of a borrowing country is thus brought within the Bank’s mandate, as in the case of the Judicial Infrastructure Project in Venezuela.
B. C. Smith

5. The Decentralization of Political Power

Abstract
The division of political and administrative powers territorially between different spatial entities in society is as important a constitutional matter as the allocation of powers between branches of government and the creation of rules within which they operate. Though the decentralization of power to territorial units is given varying degrees of constitutional status in different countries, it has been adopted as part of the democratization process in all regions of the world (Turner, 1999b) and as a response to pressures from spatially defined minority groups for a measure of self-determination. Demands for unity following civil war (as in Uganda and Mozambique), state reconstruction in post-communist countries and improved service delivery (in parts of East Asia and Latin America) have also prompted the creation or reform of decentralized government in the ‘third wave’ of democratization.
B. C. Smith

6. Political Pluralism

Abstract
As an objective of international support for good governance, political pluralism is the most difficult set of principles to engage with. Involvement in the key institutions of a pluralist state — political parties and organized interests — is vulnerable to the charge of interference in the internal politics of a sovereign state. While all governance conditionalities involve the imposition of reform from outside, the requirements of political pluralism can easily draw the aid donor into the most sensitive areas of national politics.
B. C. Smith

7. Participation

Abstract
Participation is understood within the donor community as both an end in itself and a means to other political and administrative objectives. For example, both the UNDP and DFID regard participation as a human right. UNDP includes participation along with equality and representation as principles underpinning its work, while DFID endorses the rights of all citizens ‘to participation in, and access to information relating to, the decision-making processes that affect their lives’ (DFID, 2001: 86). At the same time participation is seen as a means to the greater effectiveness of development projects, the mobilization of resources, and the empowerment of people hitherto excluded or marginalized by the prevailing power structures within society (Chambers, 1995: 30).
B. C. Smith

8. Eradicating Corruption

Abstract
The problem of corruption came to feature prominently among the governance concerns of the international development community in the 1990s, eventually forming part of the anti-poverty efforts of both multilateral and bilateral aid donors. There can be no doubt as to the seriousness with which the aid community views corruption. Every facet of development is believed to be harmed by it. It is regarded as a particularly significant adversary in the fight against poverty (Doig and McIvor, 1999).
B. C. Smith

9. Transparent and Accountable Public Administration

Abstract
Administrative accountability is sometimes referred to (rather misleadingly) as ‘horizontal’, to distinguish it from what is perceived to be a more vertical relationship between state and society entailed by political accountability (see Chapter 2). Horizontal accountability occurs when one part of the state is entitled to explanation (answerability) from another on which it can impose sanctions if not satisfied (enforceability). So administrative agencies (ministries, departments, bureaux, boards) are answerable to ministers and legislatures, sometimes via regulatory bodies, auditors, anticorruption commissions, and ombudsmen. Within agencies, management hierarchies are made up from chains of command and control entailing internal accountability of public servants to their superiors. The judiciary then subjects both political and administrative decisions to judicial review.
B. C. Smith

10. Efficient Public Management

Abstract
A number of the governance reforms discussed so far affect public administration: combating corruption, enforcing the rule of law, providing a foundation of law and property rights, ensuring public servants are accountable; and decentralization. This chapter focuses on the question of administrative efficiency, and in particular the essential requirements for a capable public sector as understood by international development agencies.
B. C. Smith

11. Economic Reform and Poverty Alleviation

Abstract
It was noted in Chapter 1 that ‘good governance’ is sometimes taken to mean ‘good government’ plus ‘public policy’. We have seen that it is not easy to obtain agreement on what ‘good’ government entails. With public policy, however, a consensus has emerged among donors that economic liberalism is required, replacing state-led development by free markets, private ownership, and international competition. In other words, development is now seen to demand capitalism (Cammack, 2002). When such economic restructuring has severe consequences for the poor, the role of the state is to give capitalism a ‘human face’ by ‘empowering’ the poor in both markets and politics.
B. C. Smith

12. Conclusion

Abstract
Political conditionalities and support for good governance have attracted scepticism from some quarters, leading people to question whether political reform is something that can be, or even should be, induced by external pressures. Others have tried to identify the conditions that need to be present before support for good governance is likely to be effective.
B. C. Smith
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