This interview was conducted by Javier Toro.
Mark H. Moorehas just retired as a Professor of Strategic Public Management at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was previously the Hauser Professor of Nonprofit Organizations and the Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy and Management at the Kennedy School, the Herbert Simon Professor of Educational Organizations at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Visiting Professor at the Harvard Business School. Among other publications, he is the author Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government and Recognizing Public Value: Towards a Public Value Accounting System.
As you know, there are many words used to describe the “proper ends of government in democratic political systems.” We say, for example, that the goals of a democratic government should be to “advance the general welfare of the society,” or to “promote the common good”, or to “create liberty and justice for all.”
However, there is an important, well known philosophical dilemma implicit in these words. The words “general welfare” and the “common good” suggest that the government has an instrumental, utilitarian purpose —that the material ends pursued by government can justify the means used to achieve them. The words “liberty and justice” evoke what philosophers describe as a deontological philosophical framework —a method that emphasizes the importance of securing individual rights and creating a society that is fair and just as well as materially prosperous. Frequently, these two systems collide in situations where the achievement of some collective “good” seems to require an action that abridges a “fundamental individual human right.”
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Victor Manuel Isidro Luna
Javier B. Seoane C.