• Steven G. KovenEmail author


The issue of accountability remains at the core of democratic governments. Voting is meaningless if elected officials are unable to control the actions and general behavior of public sector agents who, at times, appear to act with impunity according to their own sets of norms and objectives. The chapter revisits the threat to democracy posed by insulated bureaucratic organizations that operate at the local, national, and international levels. Exposure by legislative institutions or the media represents possible checks on abusive behavior; however, the chapter notes that those who step forward to expose wrongdoing often place themselves at risk. The chapter explores approaches to reining in strong organizations such as whistleblowing, external oversight, and internal oversight. Finally, the existential question of the extent to which insular bureaucracies endanger democracy is posed. The limitations of average voters are well recognized. However, the final call is to strengthen democracy through better communication, greater candidness, and trust in the ability of the people to reverse course when it appears that the train of government has gone seriously off the tracks.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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