THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT: The Government's Multibillion-Dollar Giveaway of its Decision-Making Powers to Private Management Consultants, ""Experts,"" and Think-Tanks by Daniel & Barry Willner Guttman

THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT: The Government's Multibillion-Dollar Giveaway of its Decision-Making Powers to Private Management Consultants, ""Experts,"" and Think-Tanks

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The subtitle sums up the subject of the book, prepared for Ralph Nader's Center for the Study of Responsive Law. The case studies present detailed material along with narrow critiques. The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, for example, is scolded for excessive spending on a ""big firm"" accounting job; the government is castigated for failing to advertise 85% of its defense contract dollars for competitive bidding. The inefficiency of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is scored, but the authors do not explain that it was created to circumvent legal limits on city borrowing, which added to the cited mess. To be sure, the documentation of conflicts of interest is often striking: the auditor for the Penn Central Railroad, for example, was also its management advisor! And the book may enable other researchers to go further on the subject of Mayor Lindsay's shifting of advisory powers to the New York RAND Institute which opposed rent control and sponsored landlord interests. The authors themselves, with their emphasis on the greed and ineffectiveness of the private contractors, actually tend to reinforce the view that they are apolitical centers of technical expertise--the book is a muckrake, in the precise sense of exposing how institutions don't live up to their stated goals. A factual reference, accompanied by an introduction by Nader, not received by deadline, which doubtless addresses some of the broader implications of non-accountable policy-making.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1975
Publisher: Pantheon