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By Peter Harris

This booklet has been written to give an explanation for the various basic problems with public management to a large viewers. the writer, Emeritus Professor and previous head of the dept of Political technology on the collage of Hong Kong, has had decades adventure within the research and instructing of public management in either ecu and African states (in the 50s and 60s) and Asia (in the 70s and 80s).

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35 3 Allocation of Functions An old, but nevertheless important subject for students of public administration, is that of allocation of functions. This somewhat forbidding sounding title refers to a very important and complex topic which asks: on what basis should tasks be performed within the government machine? A typical example is the control of pollution. Some people see the control of pollution as an environmental matter, but of course the detection of polluters is the responsibility of the police, while an interest in the question of pollution is obviously a concern for the scientists in government as well as for a whole range of other possible departments such as public works, conservancy and finance, amongst others.

However in poorer developing states, government takes place in a context of resource poverty. In the absence of resources, government is impotent. When 26 The Size and Scope of Government refugees from Vietnam arrived in Australia in the 1980's for example, they were amazed to encounter a wide range of social service benefits u n k n o w n in Vietnam. Vietnam has suffered from w a r and deprivation for decades. It maintains a large army and has no tradition of welfare state provisions. Vietnam is unlikely to have developed world worries about the provision of such welfare.

Big Government in developing countries means something quite different from Big Government in developed Western states. Most writers on public administration in Western countries stress public demand for services, forcing government in its turn to decide on its priorities. Relatively wealthy countries have to make choices on what to spend their wealth. To govern is to choose. However in poorer developing states, government takes place in a context of resource poverty. In the absence of resources, government is impotent.

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