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Marshall Dimock's Theoretical Legacy: Revisiting Two Central Themes in His Free Enterprise Book

PAM, Vol. 13 No. 2, (2008)

Marshall Dimock was a theoretician who wrote extensively on administrative theory and public administration in the mid-twentieth century. One of his principal works was Free Enterprise and the Administrative State (1951), a scholarly yet neglected source that examines the capitalist market-system and the administrative state. In that book, Dimock develops two central concepts: institutional “bigness” through collectivization, and “sectoral resemblance.” This article examines these two concepts from a contemporary perspective. By exploring trends and practices with the use of modern technology, we find that societal organizations, whether in business or government, need not necessarily be big in terms of number of employees to collectivize power. Also, the ease of accessibility and the affordability of recent technological advancements have vastly expanded an already growing surveillance industrial complex, causing the private and public sectors to resemble each other through their practices, reaffirming Dimock’s historical theses. This is not necessarily constructive for society, however, since business uses economic power for profitability rather than to promote the national interest, and challenges to civil liberties and personal privacy arise.

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