John Stuart Mill's Theory of Bureaucracy within Representative Government: Balancing Competence and Participation



The relationship between bureaucracy and representative government has been a subject of concern to public administration since its inception. John Stuart Mill addressed this question in an 1861 essay, in which he explained his theory of government. Mill suggests a role for public administration that is not only legitimate, but also necessary for good government. His writings contain remarkable references to the concerns addressed in current theories of public administration. Mill worked to balance the spirit of popular government with governance by the most educated, skilled, and experienced of the nation, whether they were citizens, elected representatives, or administrative officials. This article examines Mill's theory and the contribution it makes to current public administration discussion.