WWII to the 60s

The APA and Administrative Law -- Public administration in America can be traced back to colonial days and the organizations that were necessary to put into place in order to give the citizenry some semblance of safety and organization. As the population grew, so did the need and complexity of the administration -- as well as the public's need. After the Civil War and resultant industrial boom, so many mega-corporations grew that by the first few decades of the 20th century, new regulations were required simply to keep pace with the expanding grey areas of administration and legality. Clearly, men like Frank Goodnow and others saw the necessity for balancing the needs of administrative efficacy with those of authority and public need, "In the case of conditional statutes, the administration has not merely to execute the state's will, but has as well to participate in its expression…" (Cooper 74).

The Administrative Procedures Act was a result of some of the burgeoning changes that occurred in the early 20th century, and was enacted in 1946 and recodified in 1966. Cooper and others believe that the series of crises in the American administration (Stock Market Crash, Great Depression, World War II) allowed for a number of emergency powers and a span of authority with some federal agencies. The enactment of the APA was not to stem the growth of these agencies, for Roosevelt and others knew that as the population reintegrated there would be more administrative need, but to standardize procedures and come to some sort of legislative balance. One scholar of the period noted that the 16 years from the October panic of 1929 and the end of the war were filled with contentiousness between agencies, and the APA was necessary as "the nation's decision to permit extensive government, but to avoid dictatorship and central planning," both themes that would have been anathema during the early years of the Cold War (Shepherd).

Question 2- Regulation as a challenge to the public interest. -- It seems as if the process of continual bureaucratization and an almost web like infrastructure within governmental systems is a bit of a natural evolutionary outgrowth of most political systems. Political paradigms seem to work on either one of two templates: industry will self-regulate and police itself based on its need for profit; or, the government must put certain aspects of administrative law (e.g. regulations) in effect in order to prevent the skewing of growth and power in one direction or another. Certainly we saw certain global governments spiral out of control with their own bureaucracy and lack of regulation, almost to the point of being stymied at every turn.

In the United States, though, it appears that we tend to overregulate when we have a general mistrust of the public and their own ability to self-regulate (e.g. prescription drugs, motor vehicle laws, alcohol laws, etc.), but more importantly we tend to mistrust that corporations are really looking out for the good of the populace. Instead, we so fear market failures that we take a classically oriented approach to market failure: stop monopolies, impose action for the public good, and eliminate opportunities for one-sided markets (Orbach).

Since the 1970s, in fact, it seems as we have been trying to counterbalance one administration after another with a sort of pendulum effect; the Carter Administration puts X into Effect; the Ford Administration reverses, and so on. This changes, as well, with the increasing demand for privatization -- moving governmental contracts to the private sector for fiscal reasons, the Defense Department's lack of one large behemoth enemy after the fall of the Eastern Block, and even the new issues brought about by 9/11 (Cooper 101-2).

Question 3- Wright's Organization -- Deil Wright organizes his essay on the Administrative State into three major sections: Wilsonian Federalism, the New Deal Intergovernmental Regulations, and Contemporary management. While these follow a linear line -- the early 1900s to the Stock Market Crash, The Depression and War Years, and then the Cold War and Beyond; they are also more of a way to see the philosophical change within the way American government saw the evolution of administrative bureaucracy during the progression of the 20th century (Wright).

What follows is an interesting philosophical view of government,…