Friday, 16 January 2015

What the Greeks taught us and we British have forgotten

an article by Howard James Elcock (Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne) published in Public Policy and Administration Volume 29 Number 3 (July 2014)


The ancient Greek philosophers taught us many of the desirable features of government, but since 1979 we have lost sight of most of them. We now have a restricted view of citizenship, a defective view of the public interest, a diluted public service ethic, little public service education and training and above all we have lost sight of the Greeks’ demand to seek the good life and the good society.

Instead we have the ‘Three Es’ and a business approach which is profit led.

Leadership and action are needed to restore the former virtues of British government, many of which were learnt from Plato and Aristotle.

Hazel’s comment:
When I first became a civil servant in 1971 the emphasis was on the true meaning of both of those words.
I had to be civil – even when asked whether I knew when the next bus into town was. A frequent happening as a direct result of the Jobcentre having a bus stop right outside.
And I had to provide a service – to both employers and jobseekers and provide value for money to my paymaster.

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