"Accountability Matters," Remarks prepared for presentation at Shani Conference, University of Haifa, Thursday, June 10, 2004
"…the reality is that accountability has become an important and pervasive concept throughout the world. Perhaps reflecting the historical dominance of British and then American systems in the markets and transnational governance structures, there is no escaping the concept of accountability.
And, I would argue, this is as it should be because accountability matters – it makes a difference, although not necessarily for the reasons that are given by most of those who advocate its greater use today. Here we come to the problem of rhetoric, for most of the rhetoric surrounding accountability today is tied to beliefs that it provides magic pill that will fix the major problems of governance.
I think of these beliefs as the four promises of accountability – and I would argue that all the evidence now at our disposal indicates that these are indeed false promises. Or at least promises that still need to be studied before we rely on them for making ill-advised administrative policies."