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Politics, Position, and Power

The Dynamics of Federal Organization

Fifth Edition

Harold Seidman

Publication Date - December 1997

ISBN: 9780195090727

288 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches


The fifth edition of this classic text presents a concise study of the United States government in the 1990's, highlighting the constitutional implications of the current debate among anti-government revolutionaries, privatizers, and government reinventors about the governments purpose. It analyzes the legal, political, and organizational consequences of arguments which contend that there has ceased to be a realistic distinction between what is public and what is private. Seidman demonstrates how control of regulations, rather than structure, has become the center of the struggle for position and power, and by describing the logic behind the politics that influence federal agencies, he provides a detailed account of the limits of government performance and the most appropriate instruments for improvement. Completely updated and revised to cover such significant developments as the Clinton-Gore National Performance Review and the Gingrich revolution, this text shows how structural reorganization and procedures may be used to achieve political purposes and to alter the balance of power among the president, congress, judiciary, and interest groups. A provocative chapter entitled Amputation Before Diagnosis is critical in explaining the failure to relate proposed reforms to specific strategic goals. With its sound scholarship and unique personal insights, this new edition of Politics, Position, and Power is not only an ideal text for political science courses focusing on public administration, it is also an essential resource for understanding present trends in American government and public administration.

Previous Publication Date(s)

February 1986
February 1980
February 1976

Table of Contents

    I: The Politics of Government Organization
    1. Introduction
    2. Executive Branch Organization: View from the Congress
    3. Executive Branch Organization: View from the White House
    4. Nixon's New American Revolution
    5. Carter's "Bottom-UP" Reorganization
    6. Reagan: From the Positive to the Regulatory State
    7. Amputation Without Diagnosis
    8. The Executive Establishment: Culture and Personality
    9. Coordination: The Search for the Philosopher's State
    II: The Politics of Institutional Type
    10. Administrative Agencies
    11. Advisory and Intergovernmental Bodies: Twilight Zone
    III: Concluding Observation
    12. Concluding Observation
    Select Bibliography