Be persuasive, not abrasive

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The two terms ‘good governance’ and ‘clean government’ have become popular during the years of president Thein Sein’s government. As the phrase ‘clean government’ is self-explanatory, a discussion would like to be made only upon good governance, which is not very familiar to the readers. In this regard, the word governance will be dealt with only from the structural perspectives – governance and hierarchy, governance and market, governance versus networks or associations, governance and communities, and governance versus persuasion.
Among the five above-mentioned structures, governance and hierarchy is an ideal model of state, under which control is conducted by vertically integrated state structure of bureaucracy. Nevertheless, this model has been criticized and calls for small scales, flexibility, diversification, informal exchange rather than formal control. Concerning governance and market, market seems to be a facilitating mechanism for efficient allocation of resources. As the nature of market is viewed as based upon self-interest, governance in this context is seen as a mechanism in which economic actors can co-operate and solve common problems without challenging or distorting the basic market mechanism. In regard to governance versus networks or associations, the policy networks comprise different actors inclusive of state, organized interests etc within the given policy sectors. The policy networks foster co-ordination between private and public interests and resources. And what is more, it promotes efficiency in policy implementation. The policy networks have been strengthened by the shift from government to governance on account of the declining dependence upon the formal legal process. Thanks to the emergence of a new structural aspect of governance versus communities, the communities can participate better in the collective matters. In fact, the state or the local government is too big and bureaucratic to deal with the issues of collective interests of the communities. Thus, governance seeks to solve common problem and encourage civil spirit in the community without large public bureaucracies. Last but not the least, a mode of governance is achieved through a mode of self-discipline or compliance on the part of the citizens. This means encouraging citizens to change their behavior through laws, taxes, regulations along with persuasion in matters such as persuasion of citizens to drink less, smoke less, eat moderately, report suspected terrorists and be engaged in voluntary work etc.

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