Influence Of Comparative Administrative Governance Experience On USA

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Question :


Reflect on broad sweep of administrative history. Your essay will identify three major trends and discuss each trend.

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Answer :


World War II had its negative impact on both the axis and the Allies group. Though the Nazi Germany and Japan faced the direct destructive forces, USA and Soviet union also experienced major political and economic changes. Economic reconstruction after World War II led to various changes in policies in Western politics. Henry Truman proposed an aid of 400 million dollars in emergency assistance. The Truman Doctrine of 1947 soon led the application of this general principle when Truman’s secretary Henry Marshall suggested an extension of this economic assistance for the World War II devastated Western European countries(Kesternich et al, 2014). Many historians consider this Marshall plan to be an policy to eliminate Communism from Europe. Marshall plan soon led to USA’s ongoing cold war with Soviet union. The cold war between these two major political powers affected the Western economy and politics severely. Marshall plan is indeed one of the driving forces that helped Europe in achieving the golden period for European economy. Till 1970 European economy flourished in the World economy. The major change in world economy took place with the 1973 oil crisis. Responding to USA’s support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War, The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to claim the OPEC oil embargo (Banafe & Macleod,2017). The twelve members of the organization agreed on the embargo and further problematizes the situation leading to sky rising prices of oil.

Three trends of the time period

The Marshall Plan (1948-51)

The horrors of the World War II had an immense effect on the Allies as well as the Axis powers. The uprising of the Nazi powers and the unfathomable evil ambition of a few dictators like Adolf Hitler led to such mass extermination and unimaginable destruction of resources and innocent lives. The aftermath of the war had literally altered the equilibrium of world economy and harmony, and as a consequence of that several West European countries had to suffer to a great extent, both geographically and economically. Countries like Spain, Portugal had to endure a great loss in their economic structure, and there had to be a nation that needed to support them in times of extreme desperation. The effects of the World War II had a more or less impact on every countries that participated in the war, but shockingly the United States of America was less affected by the war in terms of economy and industrial infrastructure. The only massive damage that the nation endured was the destruction and demolition of ‘Pearl Harbor’ by Japan on the fateful day of 7th December, 1941(Arkes, 2015). Most of the European nations had an experience of the war and got shattered by the vulgar display of power by countries like Germany,  Italy and USSR(Arkes, 2015). 

It was time for someone to come to the aid of the economically and infrastructurally affected nations.  United States of America, under the leadership of George. C Marshall; the then Secretary of State, announced the Marshall Plan in the Harvard University in June 5th, 1947. The motive of such a plan was to provide financial aid to the downtrodden and affected countries of Europe, during the phase of the Second World War. The historical move taken by the Secretary of State of the United States of America, proved to be effective, as the nation transferred thirteen billion dollars for the economic recovery of the affected nations. Although, the initiative taken by U.S.A was supported and praised by most of the nations, yet the Soviet Union saw it from a different perspective. The U.S.S.R thought that the introduction of the Marshall Plan was an interference of the United States of America into the internal affairs of Europe. As a consequence, the U.S.S.R restricted countries like Poland and Czechoslovakia to take active part, in spite of their interest(Raadschelders, 2017).             

Comparative Administration Group (CAG)(1960) 

The Comparative administrative Group originated at a conference of Princeton University in 1953(Jorgenson et al, 2016). CAG focuses on the different theories of administration till early 1950s and attempts to bring together different disciplines in understanding the administration and activities of the government on enacting different policies and provides a study on development of administrative structure and bureaucratic behavior with reference to a comparative study. The studies in administration, dates back from the time of Aristotle, when he used to send representatives to different countries to study their respective political system. The body was set up only to study the various innovations and changes implied in a nation’s political system. A thorough comparison is made between the political system of a country with a different one, so as to make an analysis of the drawbacks and strong standpoints of a nation. In context with the comparative administration group, that was set up in the year 1960, it  can be said that the impact of such a program was brilliantly effective as it helped in the development of the third world countries and the repairmen of the damaged done to the national income of the developed nations.    

Heyday of CAG

The idea of comparative administration group is quite old as it is dates back from the times of the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Before the First World War, the researchers and theorists were busy in the understanding of their own administrative setups and therefore they couldn’t compare their own administrative setups with others. After the eruption of the First World War, several issues came in the scenario, such as the need to form the League of Nations. The uplift of the developing countries was a major issue during that time of crisis. It was necessary because many underdeveloped countries were under the control of the British and the eradication of the age old British practice of colonialism was imminent. The colonized nations were forced to co-operate with the British and as an outcome they started to become stronger than ever, not only in terms of manpower, but also in terms of economy. 

The end of the Second World War brought a new flow of idea, as imperialism and colonialism got eradicated. The third world countries started to get known as developing countries. There were no more dictatorship, imperialism and more specifically colonialism. The League of Nations,  now got to be known as the United Nations started to administer on their own setups of their political system and framed their own constitutions. The United States of America started to establish moral and business relationships with the European countries and started to diminish the influence of communism of Soviet Union. CAG,  literally assisted most of the European countries and the developing nations to curb a systematic and smart administrative system to cater to the needs and essentialities.         

No more ‘Heyday’ of Comparative Administration Group (CAG)

The success of CAG faced a decline in the 1970s (Jorgenson et al, 2016).  The decline occurred because of the changing ground realities in the political and economic scenario. The operations of CAG faced problems after the first Oil crisis of Europe. CAG initially identified few research problems by using political theories and relating them to the administrative tasks (Raadschelders, 2017). In the 1970s emerging problems like hunger, repression, inequality, and population explosion affected the overall economic development. CAG preferred descriptive study over empirical one. The whole study became US centric as CAG failed to provide a comparative study after 1970(Jorgenson et al, 2016). With such emerging issues scholars and practitioners of several developing countries felt the need of dependence theory and world system theory in explaining the current situation of state affairs.

The Vietnam War and its aftermath trauma no longer interested US in making International solidarity efforts like the Marshall plan in 1948.


By the end of 1960s the need of Comparative Administration was felt and according to scholars that is one of the major reasons for the downfall of CAG. The economic development and political issues of the developing countries can no more be analyzed by a simple one line assessment method as the ground realities differs largely from the theoretical data. The primary reasons the formation of CAG was to develop a universal view of the global politics and economy. But the emerging issues problematize the question of public administration. CAG identified the political dimensions in development of the administration. But the assessment of the performance of the administrative systems in the developing countries like India and Angola shows that these countries expand their bureaucracy in order to handle modern crisis. The concepts of the western scholars can not explain the non-Western administrative systems of their society. The western European economic condition after World War II improved because of the active participation of US and their financial aid to them but Vietnam War completely changed US interest of international solidarity. The view of comparative administration changed as a whole after 1970.