Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category
Francis Fukuyama‘s commentary What is Governance?, published in the current issue of Governance, continues to attract international attention. Bronislav Mazur, writing on the website of the Russian International Affairs Council, says that Fukuyama’s article has relevance to reform of the Russian armed forces. More autonomy for the military will improve its capacity to achieve greater efficiency, Mazur says. And Jamil Nasir draws on Fukuyama’s article to discuss governance reform in Pakistan’s The News.
In March, Governance published Francis Fukuyama’s commentary “What is governance?” Over the last eight weeks, the Governance blog has posted several responses to this commentary. (See below.) Here, Francis Fukuyama replies.
I’m very grateful to the journal Governance and its co-editors, Robert Cox and Alasdair Roberts, for publishing my piece, “What Is Governance?”, and to the many scholars and specialists who responded to it. The reaction has been very helpful to my own thinking, and hopefully will be the basis for more discussions to come.
The vast majority of the comments centered around the criticism that I had chosen too narrow a concept of governance. This was a problem in two particular respects: first, that I had deliberately and inappropriately excluded substantive policy goals and normative criteria from my definition of governance (e.g., Visvanathan, Flinders, Kumar) and second, that I had defined governance as a characteristic of states, and within states of executive agencies, in a world in which governance is a function being provided by a wide variety of actors (e.g., Risse, Levi-Faur, Hale, de Renzio). Read the rest of this entry »
Last month, Governance published Francis Fukuyama’s commentary “What is governance?“ Here, Professor Sudhir Kumar offers a reply to the commentary. (Read earlier responses further down on the blog).
Francis Fukuyama suggests an alternative approach to measure governance which focuses on four aspects: procedural measures, capacity measures, output measures, and measures of bureaucratic autonomy. Fukuyama also argues that in order to better understand and measure governance, it needs to be separated from the concept of democracy. For him governance is about government’s ability to deliver. He also stresses upon the need to separate the ‘outcomes’ as an indicator of governance. Read the rest of this entry »
Last month, Governance published Francis Fukuyama’s commentary “What is governance?” On March 26 we posted a response from Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kwan Yew School at the National University of Singapore. Dean Mahbubani’s response was also published in the Singapore Straits Times. In this column, reprinted from the April 8 Straits Times, Sun Xi replies to Dean Mahbubani:
PROFESSOR Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, has been described as “the muse of the Asian century”. He is widely known for his famous idea, “the rise of Asia and the decline of the West”.
His full perspectives on the idea can be intensively explored in his books – The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift Of Global Power To The East, and The Great Convergence: Asia, The West And The Logic Of One World.
As an Asian youth, I am actually very receptive to his idea of the rise of Asia, since it gives us an unprecedented dose of confidence in our future. However, Prof Mahbubani’s idea also casts a doubt in my mind: Is he too optimistic about Asia’s rise? Read the rest of this entry »
In Sri Lanka’s Sunday Island newspaper, Andrew Sheng, President of the Fung Global Institute, discusses Francis Fukuyama’s commentary “What is governance?”. Fukuyama, Sheng says, “has helped to clarify the methodology in thinking about the tradeoffs between the ability to have high discretion versus being bogged down by excessive rules, and high capacity to execute, versus low capacity to execute. . . . [And] he has decided to remove any suggestion that democracy is automatically associated with good governance, appreciating that ‘an authoritarian regime can be well governed, just as a democracy can be mal-administered.’” Read Sheng’s response. The Fung Global Institute is a Hong Kong-based organization that generates innovative thinking and business-relevant research on global issues from Asian perspectives.
In the current issue of Governance (26.2, April 2013), Professor Peter Hall of Harvard University provides a commentary on the possibility of a “new policy paradigm specifying major shifts in economic and policy” following the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
A new paradigm will have to do more than address economic troubles, Hall says. “It will also have to speak to the quintessential political dilemmas of an age in which many have lost faith in the capacities of the state, worry that redistribution to others will mean less for them, and wonder to whom they owe solidarity in a rapidly globalizing world.”
The commentary is part of a special issue marking the twentieth anniversary of Hall’s influential 1993 article, “Policy Paradigms, Social Learning and the State.” Free access to the commentary until April 30.
Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, responds to Francis Fukuyama’s “What is governance?”:
Francis Fukuyama has done the West an enormous favor with his essay on “What is governance?” He is subtly introducing a distinction between democracy and good governance, a distinction which is almost inconceivable in Western minds.
To put it bluntly, democracy is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for good governance. And, yes, it is possible to have good governance without democracy. Anyone who doubts this should look at the record of China’s government over the past thirty years. It is not perfect but it has lifted more people out of poverty, educated more people, increased their lifespans and generated the world’s largest middle class. No other society in human history has improved human welfare as much as the Chinese government. It would be insane to deny that China has enjoyed “good governance.” Read the rest of this entry »
Arthur Goldsmith of the University of Massachusetts Boston responds to Francis Fukuyama’s “What is governance?”:
“Good governance” arguably became the dominant paradigm for international development policy in the 1990s, as the shortcomings of the so-called Washington consensus suggested that institutional factors ought to be taken into account more fully in order for low- and medium-income countries to design and implement planned social and economic improvements. Right from the start, however, the good governance paradigm had difficulty dealing with the paradox that some seemingly poorly governed countries, notably China, appeared to be doing quite well on many dimensions of development. At the same time, most emerging nations floundered in trying to improve governance and make public agencies more effective in delivering basic services and promoting their private sectors. Read the rest of this entry »
Carlos Santiso of the Inter-American Development Bank responds to Francis Fukuyama’s “What is governance?”:
Francis Fukuyama’s article and project on governance at Stanford University are timely and useful contributions to the current debate on that has re-emerged in recent years on better metrics to measure the quality of governance in terms of (state) capacity and (embedded) autonomy.
However, as Rothstein and de Renzio note, Fukuyama’s approach is much closer to the assessment of the quality of government, than the quality of governance. This is much welcome, as Fukuyama underscores, because the overwhelming emphasis of comparative politics and comparative political economy has been on studying “political institutions that limit of check power” rather than “the functioning of the executive branches and their bureaucracies”, that is “the ability of governments to make and enforce rules, and the ability to provide services.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Christiane Arndt, Programme Coordinator, Measuring Regulatory Performance, OECD, responds to Francis Fukuyama’s “What is governance?” The views expressed in this comment are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the OECD.
I agree with Francis Fukuyama’s plea to measure the ability of governments to make and enforce rules, and the ability to provide services, and to favor transparent and well-defined data over meaningless super-composites. I also agree with other commentators that the suggested measures are not sufficient proxies for the overall quality of governance which is a far more encompassing concept. Beyond this ambition, measures of the “black box of government” can be useful to analyse, compare and improve its functioning. For example, OECD’s bi-annual publication Government at a Glance provides access to international data on the entire “production chain” of government activities including information on revenues received, government expenditures, employment and compensation, human resource management, regulatory governance, transparency and integrity and output and outcome measures. It is currently being extended to a large number of countries beyond the OECD members. Read the rest of this entry »