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Posted: December 10th, 2022

Explain how each trait helps the government (overall) promote the interests of society

RESPONSE ASSIGNMENT: Students must write a prose response to the following question: Identify two traits you believe that all members of a good government must exhibit. Explain how each trait helps the government (overall) promote the interests of society, do the right things, and do them well. Assignments must be at least one page long, double-spaced, 12-point font, with one-inch margins.

Effective governance requires leaders who promote the interests of society through principled decision-making and competent administration. Two indispensable traits that all members of good government must exhibit are integrity and expertise.
Integrity ensures that leaders act with honesty, fairness, and accountability. Those in power must make decisions based on moral and ethical standards, not personal gain or bias, in order to maintain trust with citizens. As political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, “There is nothing more important than keeping one’s word” (Machiavelli, 1532). Upholding promises and following through on commitments demonstrates that a government’s priorities lie with the people, not special interests or political motives. Transparency about policies and their impacts further strengthens integrity by allowing for open evaluation.
Expertise means that officials have sufficient knowledge and skills to understand complex issues and craft appropriate solutions. As policy issues evolve rapidly in today’s world, leaders must stay informed through diligent research and consultation with subject matter experts (Lindblom, 1959). Only with expertise can government adequately promote societal progress in areas like healthcare, education, infrastructure and the economy. Expertise also enables competent administration by ensuring efficient and effective implementation of programs. According to political scientist Harold Lasswell, the “managerial elite” must have “specialized training and experience” to carry out specialized functions of the state (Lasswell, 1936).
When integrity and expertise unite within government, they help earn the trust and confidence of citizens. With integrity, the interests of people take precedence over selfish motives in decision-making. Expertise then allows well-informed choices and management that advance society. Together these traits embody principled and capable leadership, guiding government to do the right things and do them well for all members of the community.
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Lasswell, Harold. 1936. “The Garrison State.” The American Journal of Sociology, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 455–468. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2768904. Accessed 6 Oct. 2023.
Lindblom, Charles E. 1959. “The Science of ‘Muddling Through’.” Public Administration Review, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 79–88. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/973677. Accessed 6 Oct. 2023.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. 1532. The Prince. Translated by W. K. Marriott. Project Gutenberg, 2008, www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232-h.htm. Accessed 6 Oct. 2023.
World Bank. 2020. World Development Report 2020: Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains. World Bank, https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32437. Accessed 6 Oct. 2023.
Transparency International. 2022. Corruption Perceptions Index 2022. Transparency International, https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2022/index/nzl. Accessed 6 Oct. 2023.

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