Civil society, virtue, trust: Implications for the public service ethos in the age of modernity

  • Barberis P
  • 8


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 5


    Citations of this article.


Laments about the decline of public morality and the public service ethos have found expression jhnn across the political spectrum. The age of modernity (or post-modernism) makes more difficult, though by no means impossible, the maintenance ofa civil society in which 'virtue' and 'trust' feed the public service ethos, indeed modernity has greater need for civil society, virtue and trust at exactly the same time as their stock are receding. Governments have, among other things, applied indiscritninately the (heavy' regulatory regimes necessary to deal with impropriety, in the process stifling the public service ethos. Virtue cannot be commanded; trust is an elusive 'commodity'. Neither can be secured by administrative fiat, though government to malfunctioning can help to create conditions conducive to their nourishment - 01'. more decisively, stifle their growth. Heavier regulatory regimes and more elaborate codes are understandable and perhaps rational responses but, if pressed too far, become counterproductive. There should be a retreat ji'om the excesses of ~management by numbers I. Leadership remains important but, in the age of modernity, no longer sL~lJlcesas the talisman. There must be greater emphasis upon citizenship.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • Peter Barberis

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free