Butler, Patrick, and Collins, Neil (2004). “Citizen as Consumer.” In Neil Collins and Terry Cradden (Eds.), Political Issues in Ireland Today. Manchester University Press, 135-148.

Citizen as consumer has advantages for improving efficiency, but also threatens democracy (135) — very much as Ryan (2001) says.

  1. “Citizen as consumer” comes from New Public Management (NPM): movement across Western democracies
    1. big role for marketing
    2. “focus on market operations and management of customer service” (135)
    3. see Osborne and Gaebler (1993), “the American NPM gurus” (146)
  2. “The ultimate paradox is that better utilisation of managment technologies may damage political processes and institutions, because treating citizens as consumers involves both positive and negative outcomes…. Problems associated with the separation of politics and administration are raised in this context. Initiatives relating to the provision of government services by electronic means (often called ‘eGovernment’) that primarily emphasize customer service delivery will also be vulnerable to such difficulties” (emphasis mine, 135-136).
  3. NPM-CAC perspective appealing — “How could anyone not want better service?” (140) and “We should run government like a business” (143) — but weakens sense of corresponding rights and social responsibilities/duties/obligations. Govt must be “guided by objective policies aimed at meeting social rather than personal needs” (142, quoting Humphreys, 1998:19).
  4. Elaborates on Ryan (2001), notes that consumer mindset lessens sense of collective responsibility: we can’t have a system where only the direct “consumers” of higher education get a say on higher ed policy; the whole community gets to take part
  5. Again summarizing Ryan (2001): “…the market model implies that the production of public services is a technical rather than political process…” (143)
  6. Market-driven managerialism is primarily based on happy customers rather than involved citizens” (144).
  7. Market research (focus groups, surveys, etc.) may actually keep the public at a distance (145)
    1. Well, that’s problematic for my methodology….
  8. They include “principles guiding Civil Service Customer Action Plans” which refer to “customers”