Key (1940) contended that there was a lack of "attention from the basic budgeting problem (on the expenditure side), namely: On what basis shall it be decided to allocate x dollars to activity A instead of Activity B?" (1137, emphasis in original) The literature of the era was concerned primarily with the technical aspects of budgeting, or in the case of public expenditures by socialist states (USSR, et al.), what might be called the "calculation problem" — in the absence of market forces, how might one determine how to ration scarce resources efficiently? In a mixed economy with a substantial public sector, the market is also of limited help in determining rational allocation of resources. Key (1940) points out: “Efforts to ascertain more precisely the relative 'values' of public services may be thought fruitless because of the influence of pressure groups in the determination of the allocation of funds. Each spending agency has its clientele, which it marshals for battle before budgetary and appropriating agencies." (1140) Of course, by the same token, no one set of interests is so overwhelmingly powerful as to be able to vote itself the whole of the treasury. Ultimately, Key maintains that both the neoclassical economists and political scientists have something to offer when seeking to determine the descriptive rules of public expenditure.
[...] Budgets in these countries are often made and remade, which encourages hoarding of resources and the creation of alternative and even extralegal sources of income, such as bribes. Wildavsky's work was "based on the idea that rationality and human behavior are constrained or bounded, yet here the boundaries were imposed not by cognitive limits or environmental factors, but by culture." (Swedlow 2001, p. 341) Cultural theory can be used as a plug for the hole in budgetary theory lamented by Key (1940). [...]
[...] The normative theory of budgeting amongst political scientists is tied explicitly to the question of what governments should do, which in turn if based on conceptions of rights and justice, and ultimately the issue of the human condition itself. The relation of all this to the notion of executive leadership isn't necessarily complex: executives tend to be agenda-setters, and in democratic societies tend to more singularly represent the beliefs and aspirations of the citizenry. Even in non- democratic societies, "strong men" executives tend to reflect the values of the government, even if the population only offers tactic acceptance of the values presented by the executive. [...]
[...] The remainder of this essay will draw out, in broad strokes, the axioms and arguments of both schools and through a juxtaposition of the two schools demonstrate the significant area of convergence and interdependence between the two. Political scientists Key (1940) made a powerful case for budgetary theory. Mere economic theory would neither accurately describe the actions of budgetary decision-makers, nor could market signals prescribe their actions. For the political scientist, the issue of executive leadership is essential to avoid both the untoward impact of clienteles and the ambitions of the civil servants themselves. [...]
[...] He is not referring to absolute equality the way employment versus investment income is taxed if, for example, an acceptable forms of inequality in his view but various lesser forms of equity. Affirmative Action, though not itself a budgetary issue, is a useful example of how various notions of social equity may function: Race-consciousness as an affirmative action was to be based upon quality between Blacks and whites both in the work cohort and between the work cohort and the labor market a kind of double application of equality. [...]
[...] Both see the hands of several clienteles and sets of stakeholders in the decision-making process. Both see the government as having an important role to play. Yet, the normative values expressed executive leadership versus neutral competence remain somewhat at odds. Executive leadership Versus Neutral competence The discussion above brings to mind the old parable of the blind men and the elephant. As the blind men cannot see the whole elephant, they are left to use their hands to feel it. [...]
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