Conference Lectures2020-05-26T14:56:12+02:00

Council of International Fellowship Conference

« Market economy and new public management in the social field

– impact and alternatives »

Centre Varangot – Saint-Malo – July 2nd – 3rd , 2019

New Public Management

Philosophical and Anthropological Foundations

Marc Humbert

Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at University of Rennes

Univ Rennes LiRIS Interdisciplinary Reasearch Laboratory in Societal Innovations EA 7481

Co-founder of PEKEA – A Political and Ethical Knowledge in Economic Activities.

Vice-president or Convivialists’Association.


A Political and Ethical Knowledge in Economic Activities.

There is a single relevant way to deal with economic activities – in fact with

any human activities-. It is to adopt a political and ethical point of view,

that is, a human and moral point of view and

not a technical perspective which is a machine’s point of view.

After a dozen of conferences we were convinced that we should contribute to

the building of a more human world: we named it

a “convivial world”

a world made of a variety of “convivial societies”.

If you want total liberty for all, you need to adopt liberalism.

If we want conviviality for all, we need to define and to adopt convivialism.

Convivialism is based on 4 basic and interdependent principles, their

interdependence compels self-limitation.

1) common natural humanity – Ecological mind and no discrimination.

2) common sociality – our relations between us are our prime value aiming at

solidarity and cooperation as well

3) Freedom to allow autonomous individuation to all.

4) The necessity to oppose and to give to one another without sacrificing

ourselves to one another. This is democracy and equality

More information or/and join the convivialists, go to:

or./and ask <>

New Public Management – Philosophical and Anthropological Foundations

1) Philosophical Foundations of something that may be termed “Public”

2) Practical Foundations of something that was termed “bureaucracy”,

an Old Public Management

3) Practical Foundations for a New Public Management

4) The crucial Anthropological Challenge in a market-driven society

1) Philosophical Foundations of something that may be termed “Public”

Enlightenment: during the late 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, Thinkers tried

to find a rationale to everything.

E.G. Why a few Governors and a mass of Governed people? Why a State?

This was the emergence of Modern Political Philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes (1651, Leviathan)

He used the concept of civil society equivalent to political community.

He claimed that in the past, peoples were in a “state of nature” with a “war of

all against all”. – following Plaute’s assertion “Homo homini lupus” (man is a wolf

to man).

To escape that dangerous anarchy, people agreed to accept total submission to

governors, to become the governed, within a civil society.

Doing so, they lost their freedom, but they gained security

John Locke (1689, Second Treatise of Government)

He considered the submission of the governed as conditional and reversible.

Government must be impartial in administering and enforcing law.

Government must guarantee individual rights: self-defence, self-preservation,

estate (property)

If these rights based on liberty of the individuals are not protected, a majority

of the people is allowed to change the Government.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762, Du Contrat Social ou Principes du Droit


Jean-Jacques Rousseau added equality to liberty.

He poses and solves a paradox: in the proposed system of a social pact “each

individual gives himself entirely” [alienate his liberty] to the Government, but this

form of Government is democracy, that is a Government by the people, by the


Thus, “as it is the same for the others [– they all give themselves entirely-] noone

has any interest in making things tougher for everyone but himself”.

Therefore, each associate, as a citizen, by his vote within a democracy, will

equally contribute to express what is “the “general will” or general interest that

should prevail over their own individual one”.

Adam Smith (1776, An inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of


“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we

expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address

ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love.

generally, indeed, [he] neither intends to promote the public interest, nor

knows how much he is promoting […]he intends only his own gain, and he is in

this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which

was no part of his intention.

By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more

effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”

The “historical” political ideology at the core of the NPM

Free individuals acting, competing in self-regulating markets, this is the

ideology of economic liberalism

The public interest, the public good is to be reached thanks to the efficacy of the

invisible hand of the market.

From that time on, the Public is supposed to expect not only security, but also

prosperity, wealth.

Smith did not want to suppress the Government, but to limit its scope to

national defence, administration of justice (law and order), delivery of some

public goods like infrastructure and education (later Money and health).

The “democratic”19th century : Equality at bay

Nations organised themselves upon the principles of liberty and equality of

individuals, setting up a political regime termed democracy.

Civil and political rights, for a civil society of equality and property rights for all,

but monopolised by capitalists.

Capitalism brought prosperity to the Nation but prosperity rapidly collided with

the question of equality

Failure of the Market: the invisible hand does not to deliver prosperity to all.

2) Practical Foundations of something that was termed “bureaucracy”,

an Old Public Management

Adolph Wagner (1872, Lehrbuch der politischen Ökonomie)

“as the economy develops over time, the activities and functions of the

government increase” and government spends more and more.

Among progressive peoples (societies), central and local governments are

concerned to an increasing extent by the satisfaction of the economic needs of

the people

When more than 40% of the wealth of a Nation is filtered by its Government

it is quite amazing to listen to everyone saying;

this Nation is a market economy”.

Such a half-truth is a whole lie, a manipulated assertion.

Anyway, the growing amount of Government spending at least since the

beginning of the 20th century has implied more and more Administration

Max Weber (1922, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundriß der verstehenden

Soziologiewhere we may read his essay: bürokratie )

His thesis is the following:

It is beyond the capacity of the Politicians to manage the state structure.

They need the support of Bureaucrats

Bureaucracy is the most rational, efficient, powerful and hierarchical

apparatus of state administration.

Everyone is treated equal and the division of labour is clearly described with

formally written rules and procedures which are neutral and impersonal, and

operated by each employee.

Acceleration of the complexification of any activities within the society

driven by the motto of progress and efficacy

For the “Business”? Beyond the Political economy set up by Smith:

(i) Frederik Winslow Taylor (1909, The Principles of Scientific Management)

Executives and Operators – change on the shopfloor.

(ii) Creation of the Harvard Business Review in 1922: experts and professors

Peter Drucker (1946, Concept of the Corporation)

(iii) Administration as a science?

Herbert Simon (1946, The Proverbs of Administration

Lionel Robbins (1932, Essays in the Nature and Significance of Economic


Economics is:

“the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between

ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”.

With such a definition the running of any organisation, small or large, private or

not, a family, an enterprise, an administration or a Nation, whatever it is, falls in

the field of economic science.

Scarce means are things, how to use things in the best way, efficiently, to get the

better outcome, the better efficacy, is just a technical question, a question of

management. Neither political nor ethical consideration.

This paved the way to technocracy or ecocracy.

And to be sure to the New Public Management.

3) Practical Foundations for a New Public Management

Why this universal shift towards a New Public Management?

1) A political crisis

2) A social crisis

3) A Government budget crisis

4) An Institutional crisis

A paradoxical Alliance

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979), a conservative in the UK,

privatisation and deregulation

President Bill Clinton (1992), a democrat in the USA,

reinventing government, a government that works better and costs less.

Christopher Hood (1991, A New Public Management for all seasons)

Christopher Hood termed NPM the “quite similar administrative” evolving

practices in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United


And according to him

NPM referred to “a simulacrum of the allocation of resources by competitive

markets that suited neoconservative times”

As a matter of fact, France, which is said to be lagging in this matter far

behind New Zeland, has continuously tried to “reform” its administration,

for more efficiency and more efficacy. A sort of French variety of NPM.

Table 1: Successive reforms in French Administration

1917 Léon Blum (socialist) wrote letters about his concern for a reform of the government

1959 “SCOM” Methods and Organisation Central Service (suppressed in 1985)

1968 RCB” “Rationalization of Budget Choices” (suppressed 1984)- it was an adaptation of the US

“PPBS” Planning Programming Budgeting System

1989 “Renewal of the Public Service” under Prime Minister Michel Rocard (Mitterrand as President) –


2001, LOLF (loi organique relative aux lois de finances = basic law to rule a more flexible the use of

budget in public administrations) in operation in 2006, a complete reform of the previous basic law

(1959)*)*-(Jospin Prime minister – Socialist, to deflate the mammoth)

2003 First programmes to reduce the number of people working in the public services (Chirac as


2007 ”RGPP” “General Review of Public Policies” President Sarkozy (Right) 2012 “MAP” Modernisation

of the Public Action – President Hollande – Socialist

2017 “Public Action 2022” President Macron (neither Right nor Left).

* LOLF identifies 34 large missions for the State which are divided into 133 programmes. There are

about 80 programmes managers, 630 objectives and 1 300 measurable indicators in order to assess the


Old Public Management was in crisis.

In advanced industrialised countries, the Old Public Management was unable to

deliver welfare to the people but States felt they could not spend more money

according to the existing capacity to generate more wealth in the country.

Among less advanced countries, the international organisations pointed out that

their existing administrative system, very often, lacked of neutrality and was


And the New Public Management came as a saviour for the elites in power

The new gurus of Public Management:

Osborne and Gaebler (1992, Reinventing Government: How the

Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector. From Schoolhouse

to Statehouse).

1. Government must “steer” the delivery of public services, and must avoid to go beyond.

2. Government ought to be “community-owned”, empowering citizens and communities so

that they decide the services they want, and they exercise self-governance.

3. Competition into service delivery is crucial for the better service.

4. Government must be mission-driven instead of being a rule-driven organization.

5. Public agencies judged and funded on results not on inputs.

6. Citizens and consumers are customers of public goods, agencies must meet their needs

and not those of the bureaucracy.

7. Public agencies as enterprises, allocate resources to deliver a public value and are not

spending centres.

8. Public agencies must prevent rather than cure public problems

9. Decentralization to move from hierarchy to participation and teamwork

10. Market based strategies to deliver public goods through a variety of mechanisms

Christopher Pollitt and Sorin Dan (2011, The impacts of the New Public

Management in Europe: a meta-analysis)

Christopher Pollitt and Sorin Dan directed a comprehensive report prepared for

the EU commission under the seventh framework programme with a team of

European public administration scholars from 11 universities in 10 countries.

They have scanned more than 500 relevant studies in Europe dealing with NPM


The last sentence of the conclusion of their report reads:

“why such a huge amount of reform -organizational change and upheaval

in almost every European state – has taken place if the evidence for its

positive effects on citizens is so slender?”


4) The crucial Anthropological Challenge in a market-driven society

Finally, NPM was one of the last blows to transform our societies into

economies. And to confirm the blunt assertion by Mrs Thatcher:

there is no such thing as Society”.

There are Only individuals, competing in markets, to make money.

Should we reject markets to restore societies?

Karl Polanyi (1944, The Great Transformation- The Political and Economic

Origins of our Time).

“Though the institution of the market was fairly common since the later Stone

Age, its role was no more than incidental to economic life”

But a Great Transformation occurred in the 19th century and from that time on:

Instead of economy being embedded in social relations, social relations

are embedded in the economic system”.

Karl Polanyi (1944, The Great Transformation- The Political and Economic

Origins of our Time).

“a self-adjusting market implied a stark Utopia.

Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the

human and natural substance of society;

it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a


That looks like an anthropological suicide.

Louis Dumont (1977, From Mandeville to Marx-The Genesis and Triumph of

Economic Ideology).

1) Dumont underlines the move pushed by Locke:

“we preferred to be individuals, owners of a property and we turned our back on

the social totality with the subordination that it implied, and on our neighbour, at

least to the extent that he should be superior or inferior to us”

Louis Dumont (1977, From Mandeville to Marx-The Genesis and Triumph of

Economic Ideology).

2) There was a package deal: packed with civil rights and free property, there

were free competition in markets and a dis-embbeded economy

“As a matter of fact, the birth of economics implies a shift in primacy […] from

relations between men to relations between men and nature or rather between

Man (singular) and things”

“The market is a moment of this process of dissolution of the ancient categories

of subordination and dependence that Tocqueville revealed, ending up in ’the

independent, autonomous, and thus (essentially) non social moral being … found

primarily in our modern ideology of man and society”

Usually named Homo economicus, the economic Man.

Louis Dumont (1986, Essays on Individualism: Modern Ideology in

Anthropological Perspective).

3) Dumont tries to bring some light on the new kind of relationships between

individuals: what is the nature of these relations of exchanges ?

In general, in markets commodities, “things” are exchanged against money. As

Polanyi pointed that for the sake of economy ““human labor had to be made a

commodity” in order to be tradeable in a market as any object, against its price

in money.

But, referring to Mauss’s Essay on Gift, Louis Dumont thinks that in any market

men do not exchange things as we would think but, inextricably and

fluctuatingly mixed up with those “things” something of themselves

Louis Dumont (1986, Essays on Individualism: Modern Ideology in

Anthropological Perspective).

4) Dumont illuminates what relations between people in markets, especially

when delivering services, have become.

“economists speak of “goods and services” as an overarching category

comprising, on the one hand commodities, and, on the other, something quite

different from commodities but assembled to them, namely services. This is

incidentally an example of relations between men (services) being subordinated

to relations to things (goods)”

Thus, to him, the surge of the market is a general

devaluation of relation between men, relations which generally commanded

the relation to things “ […] thus from this “emphasis on relations to men and

things as against relation between men” […] leads to a “world without man, a

world from which man has deliberately removed himself”.

The end ?

No, I do think that there are some Grains of hope

Grains of Hope

1) Millions, perhaps billion of people do resist to Ecocracy, to the

dictatorship of the market, dictatorship of economics, individually, in their

family, in associations, at work, here ….

2) Unless the forces of evil replace human beings by machines

we will keep to our anthropologic nature,

as political, social animals (Aristotle).

Our life is to relate to one another no to trade things.

Watsuji Tetsurô (1935 Fudô. Ningengakuteki kôsatsu 風土人間学的考察)

Let’s take a Japanese confirmation thanks to WATSUJI Tetsurô, a Japanese

philosopher who pointed the way Japanese are saying and writing human


In Japanese we say “human being” ningen 人間

it is written with two Chinese characters red hito (man)

and red aida (between)

To Watsuji, this is the demonstration that we, as human being, we are not

only an individual “hito” but we are essentially related to the others : “aida” is

the relational part of any human being.

A crucial issue

Why is “having more and moving faster” attractive for most

modern subjects?”

To want always more. This is pleonexia “a mad desire to get”

(Aristotle) leading to hubris and outrageousness.

Is there any answer, any remedies to that ?

To show that true happiness is elsewhere?

Hartmut Rosa (2016, Resonanz , Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung)

Harmut Rosa, a German Anthropologist and Sociologist proposes an answer

to this crucial issue in order to found a kind of sociology of the good life, with

the concept of “resonance”.

“we have good reasons to assume that the good life in its essence is not a

matter of scope (in money, wealth, options or capabilities), but a particular

way of relating to the world – to places and people, to ideas and bodies,

to time and to nature, to self and others. Increasing the scope is only a

means and a strategy to enable or facilitate the latter – it becomes

detrimental if it is structurally turned into an end in itself and thus culturally

leads to alienation from the world (and to the destruction of nature on top of


Hartmut Rosa (2016, Resonanz , Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung)

How resonance may be set up into operation?

“The pervasive logic of competition in particular undermines the possibility to

get into a mode of resonance: if we have to outpace someone, we cannot

resonate with him or her at the same time. We cannot compete and

resonate simultaneously”

“Finally, the pervasive […technocratic] attempts to completely control

processes and outcomes in order to ensure their efficiency and

transparency, which define late-modern workplace conditions, are equally

problematic for relationships of resonance, because they are incompatible

with the latters’elusiveness and transformative potential”

From the individual level to the macro-level

There at least two re-orientations to take to redesign Public Management

(i) Stop deregulation and restart regulation.

James Galbraith (2018, The need for a new public administration)

all biological, mechanical and social systems must regulate their use of

resources” self-regulating markets is no-sense when sensitive ends are at stake

as it is in the case of Public Administration’s matters.

From the individual level to the macro-level

There at least two re-orientations to take to redesign Public Management

(ii) Rethink the role of Politics to-day.

Marcel Gauchet (2014?, Interview on the radio about the NPM)

a) There is a definitive impossibility to insert Public Administration in a

Framework of Private organisation aimed at making profit

b) Public Administration is Politically driven, it implies that it is citizen-oriented

and efficacy must be related to that: what is Public efficacy?

Thus, to find any solution we need first to rethink the role of Politics to-day.

That is not to focus on tools, on blind tools, but on ends, and to agree on

these ends, in a democratic manner.

Any perspective ?

Janine O’ Flynn (2007, From New Public Management to Public

Value: Paradigmatic Change and Managerial Implications)

Up to a certain point Janine O’Flynn makes a tentative answer to

Gauchet, in the line with the concept of resonance of Rosa, but it needs

to be completed by re-regulation. The first part of one of her tables shows

the direction she proposes to follow with the concept of Public Value :

How to go ahead ?

I would say that it is up to you to go further…

To get the complete text with tables and images, please copy this link.

Roland JANVIER, ex Director General of the Fondation Massé Trévidy ( Finistère),


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Gulcan Urhan, PhD – social worker- Faculty of Health Sciences Social Work Department-Istinye University.

The title is ” Transformation of social Policy and the current tendencies in social aid field in Turkey”

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Martine TRAPON is social worker-former director of the “Ecole normale sociale”, institute for training in social work. 


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Dominique DEPENNE is social worker, Doctor in Political Sociology, Lecturer at the Buc-Ressources Campus of social professions.



Workshop 5: ” Impact of New Public Management and the economic context on professions”


“Reflections on a social program for children carried out bythe national government in Argentina” 


Workshop 5: ” Impact of New Public Management and the economic context on professions”


“Some new trends and challenges in transmission of the system of social care in Russia”  


Eric PLIEZ is General director of Association Aurore- President of SAMU SOCIAL.

The tittle is: ” Creativity and innovation in a context of management constrainsts- what conditions to achieve it”


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Hervé COULOUARN is Historian.

” A short presentation of the spot where CIF-conference take place”


Joel PLANTET is a former journalist with the magazine LIEN SOCIAL.

Here is the article he wrote at the end of the conference in the journal 1259 from 15 to 28 october 2019.

This text is in french: ” Les Warning du travail social international”


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