Summary: There is a LOT in here, mostly descriptive historical details about the formation of the administration as well as the creation and articulation of the rights and duties of states. Barker focuses heavily on the methods by which the State exacts from its members two specific duties (conscription and taxation) as well as two specific services (social services and education).
Besides the individual stories, there are some main take home points: 1) there is borrowing between countries in terms of administrative methods and aims; 2) each country develops according to their own logic and experience, but part of that experience includes the experiences of other countries; 3) the weight of taxation (or any burden) today is tied principally to the cost of the old services of the state, particularly the military service. In essence, Barker demonstrates that in terms of solving the problems of state solvency (taxation and conscription), each country followed their own logic, while in terms of finding solutions for service provision, there was more commonality and more opportunities for learning.
In terms of conscription, Barker notes that the size and composition of an army depends on a constant (the geographical situation and the problem of frontiers) and a variable (the dominant political ideas). Absolutisms were unable to construct national armies, by their own internal logic – conscription was relied on. In contrast, the English army had no history of conscription past 1660.
In terms of taxation, Barker focuses again on the amount of public scrutiny of taxation. In France, there was no public scrutiny, thus taxes were not expended with public services in mind. In England, parliamentary scrutiny of expenditure led to a different tax structure – no tax exemption for classes, and higher indirect taxes.
In terms of social services, the state replaced the church because it was simply a better provider of services and could harness more resources. There were three periods in the history of state social services:
1) Period before the Industrial Revolution (ends ~1760) – The state is mainly concerned with the rural population and has to relieve the peasantry.
2) Period between the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and union consolidation – The State is concerned with a mass of uprooted country-workers
3) ~1880 – there is a linking of collective bargaining outside with legislative enactment of standards withing Parliament
Barker sees a transfer of ideas here England -> Germany = Factory Legislation; Germany -> England = Social insurance.
In terms of education, France’s system is rooted in thereat national genius of their administrative centralization and it has been conducted with a large regard to the production of a class capable of maintaining the great national tradition of French culture and civilization. In Prussia, there is an impressive system, which became an inspiration of England. German methods of education also affected the course of English development. In England, education was highly tied to the church (unlike in Prussia) and the system was very slow to evolve.
Critique: This work is frustrating, because there is no theoretical basis tying these cases together. It is a wonderful description of how each country developed, but in doing so, Barker draws on a variety of theoretical explanations as they seem to fit, without an attempt at unification – simply put, he explains how this all came about, but besides blanket statements about borrowing or learning, he fails to answer the question of why they came about. Also, his definition of the State leaves much to be desired. The analysis doesn’t take into account the importance of Westphalia as a turning point (or as a possible explanation for learning).
General lesson (concluding chapter): “There has been rivalry in methods, but it has not been unfriendly; one country has studied, adopted, and tried to improve the methods of another; and all have combined, however unconsciously, to promote the growth of a common European standard of administration and public service.”
== Notes ==
– The development of the state from its original conception (as family, property and society) was necessary before a pure and specific administration of public services emerged.
— Of note, Barker sees this starting around 1660, but fails to mention Westphalia?
– The new conception must separate Administration and Government from the State – they both can be understood in their relation to the state.
– State: Territorial society organized as a legal association under and in virtue of a constitution.
– Government: The policy determining branch of this association. Declares and enforces the laws, rights and duties.
– Administration: Persons and bodies who are engaged, under the direction of government, in discharging the ordinary day-to-day public services.
— In service to the state at large = Civil Service
— In service to particular services/subdivisions of the state = Local Administration
– French Revolution removed all of the foundations of French politics, but left intact the foundations of French administration
– French and Prussian administrative systems developed in close connection with absolutism
– In Prussia, the creation of a nobility led to an administrative class
– Prussia was scattered, so needed an able and skilled administration to bind it together
– In Prussia, the revolution (1807-1810) was not against the administration, but rather was advanced by it (in sharp contrast to the French experience).
– England was very different – it has developed on the grounds of a generally active political community.