The orderly use of experience: Pragmatism and the development of hospital industry self-regulation


  • Joseph V. Rees

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
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Joseph V. Rees, 104 Draper Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA. Email:


This article focuses on the origins and the development of American hospital industry self-regulation. Drawing on extensive archival research, this article suggests that the American College of Surgeon’s Hospital Standardization Program was closely linked to the American pragmatist tradition. So understood, the Program represents a major milestone in the history of American regulation, perhaps the first self-regulatory system steeped in pragmatist principles of social ordering, a Progressive-era model of governance that long ago foreshadowed some of today’s most significant regulatory innovations.