The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Can political scientists help to close the expectations gap?

Mind The Gap In the spring of 2014, it will have been forty years since Trilateral Commission set up the task force that wrote the influential report, The Crisis of Democracy.  In the new issue of Governance, Matthew Flinders of the University of Sheffield says that report “continues to hit a contemporary chord.”  Politics in the twenty-first century, he argues, is distinguished by “pessimism about the future of democracy.”  Read the commentary.

The underlying problem is the persistent gap between the public’s demand for public services and the capacity of politicians to supply those services.  In the twentieth century, the “default option” of politicians was to close that gap by increasing supply.  Today, that option is “simply not viable.”  The only way of closing the gap will be by reducing unrealistic public expectations.  Political scientists can contribute to this work, Flinders says.  But to do that, they must do a better job of engaging in public debate.  Political science, he argues, “has become increasingly irrelevant within the social and political sphere.”   Watch Matthew Flinders discuss his commentary on YouTube.

Written by Governance

December 16, 2013 at 11:12 am

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