Shrinking the State: Globalization and Public Administration "Reform"


143 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895686-89-X
DDC 351.71




Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is also the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the
Peaceable Kingdom, and the co-author of Invisible and Inaudible in
Washington: American Policies Toward Canada.


The central thesis of this book is that downsizing and privatizing, as
practised by governments in Canada and elsewhere, are not panaceas and
can be positively harmful to society’s most vulnerable groups. To
illustrate the negative consequences of government funding cuts, the
authors cite a 1995 survey finding that, in Metro Toronto, “greater
than half of the programs in education, skills training, legal services
and general community services were at risk; and half of the programs
directed at youth, preschool children, women, ethno-cultural groups and
low-income families were also at risk.” This is a message that needs
to be expressed loudly and clearly these days. Unfortunately, Shrinking
the State is not very readable. Sentences are much too long and are
often filled with jargon. There are far too many direct quotations, and,
instead of using footnotes or endnotes, the authors disrupt the text
with sources cited in brackets. Readers of average intelligence will
have already drawn the conclusions reached in this laboriously argued


Shields, John, and B. Mitchell Evans., “Shrinking the State: Globalization and Public Administration "Reform",” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,