Public Values and Public Interest

Counterbalancing Economic Individualism

Barry Bozeman

"Provides such a thorough and thoughtful plea for the need of a continuous emphasis on what is public about government conduct and why; it is, as such, the first of its kind."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

Economic individualism and market-based values dominate today's policymaking and public management circles—often at the expense of the common good. In his new book, Barry Bozeman demonstrates the continuing need for public interest theory in government. Public Values and Public Interest offers a direct theoretical challenge to the "utility of economic individualism," the prevailing political theory in the western world.

The book's arguments are steeped in a practical and practicable theory that advances public interest as a viable and important measure in any analysis of policy or public administration. According to Bozeman, public interest theory offers a dynamic and flexible approach that easily adapts to changing situations and balances today's market-driven attitudes with the concepts of common good advocated by Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and John Dewey.

In constructing the case for adopting a new governmental paradigm based on what he terms "managing publicness," Bozeman demonstrates why economic indices alone fail to adequately value social choice in many cases. He explores the implications of privatization of a wide array of governmental services—among them Social Security, defense, prisons, and water supplies. Bozeman constructs analyses from both perspectives in an extended study of genetically modified crops to compare the policy outcomes using different core values and questions the public value of engaging in the practice solely for the sake of cheaper food.

Thoughtful, challenging, and timely, Public Values and Public Interest shows how the quest for fairness can once again play a full part in public policy debates and public administration.

Table of Contents

1. The Privatization of Public Value

2. Economic Individualism and the "Publicness" of Policies: Cases and Controversies

3. Economic Individualism in Public Policy

4. Economic Individualism in Public Management

5. Public Interest Theory and Its Problems

6. Toward A Pragmatic Public Interest Theory

7. Values, Value Theory, and Collective Action

8. Public Values

9. Public Value Mapping: The Case of Genetically Modified Foods and the "Terminator Gene"

10. Managing Publicness




"Provides such a thorough and thoughtful plea for the need of a continuous emphasis on what is public about government conduct and why; it is, as such, the first of its kind."—Public Administration Review

"Hooray for Barry Bozeman! The case he makes for ‘managing publicness’ is brilliant and a must-read for everyone interested in advancing the common good in an age of economic individualism. . . . With this book, Bozeman joins the august ranks of the truly important contemporary moral philosophers."—John M. Bryson, associate dean for research and centers, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

"Bozeman's analysis merits the attention of any serious scholar or policymaker concerned with the public interest, public goods, public policy, and public management, and with theory and practice pertaining to the roles of the governmental and nongovernmental institutions of a nation."—Hal G. Rainey, Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, The University of Georgia


Supplemental Materials


Winner of the 2013 Herbert A. Simon Book Award of the American Political Science Association

About the Author

Barry Bozeman is the Ander Crenshaw Professor of Public Policy and Regents' Professor of Public Policy at the University of Georgia's School of Public and International Affairs and adjunct honorary professor of political science at the University of Copenhagen. He has served as a consultant to a variety of government agencies and is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Bureaucracy and Red Tape and Limited by Design: R&D Laboratories in the U.S. National Innovation System. He has received numerous awards, including the Charles Levine Award, the James Webb Award, and the Dimock Award.

224 pp., 6 x 9

Oct 2007

224 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-177-9
Oct 2007

224 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-401-5
Oct 2007

Public Management and Change series
Beryl A. Radin, Series Editor

Related Titles