Book Reviews : Smoking and Politics: Policy Making and the Federal Bureaucracy. By A. LEE FRITSCHLER. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969)

Published date01 December 1970
Date01 December 1970
AuthorRobert S. Lorch
Subject MatterArticles
ties and administrative inadequacies of our multi-purposed and multi-jurisdictional
political system. The book may eventually be regarded as a classic analysis of the
promise-performance gap, the shortfall between popular expectations and admin-
istrative accomplishment.
Despite high praise for the excellent execution of a difficult and near-intract-
able task, I retainend some nagging doubts about three important premises on
which the prescriptions are based. First, are we, in fact, coalescing into the single
society that Sundquist sees as the policy landmark of the 1960’s? How much con-
sensus is there on national policy goals?
Second, and closely related to the first, is the asserted need for if not the
presence of a single governmental system. The immensely increased &dquo;velocity&dquo; of
governmental activities at each level has unquestionably raised the &dquo;compression
ratio&dquo; among the various units (and officials) that are parts of the governmental
engine. The metaphor suggests a unified operating entity. But is this the case, can
it be the condition, and should it be the goal in the governmental sphere?
There is also the interesting interaction question between national goals and
political structures which raises the third major question: what is the efficacy of
organizational forms? Sundquist clearly places considerable confidence in the
capacity of structural changes to rescue public programs from oblivion in the
administrative abyss. Is his confidence well placed? It is to Sundquist’s credit that
he does not (and cannot) wait until massive evidence and sophisticated quantita-
tive analysis point the way to Truth. In the meantime his organizational models
are fairly clear guides with which to combat a major challenge of the 1970’s -
making federalism work.
Toward that pragmatic end both the Reuss and Sundquist volumes make an
important and common contribution. Both address themselves to the need for
organizational and institutional changes....

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