Uses the distinctions Max Weber draws between means and ends of economics and politics in Economy and Society to explore why the discussion of ends may be neglected in current conversations on privatization and reinvention. Includes a discussion of possible relationships between public and private based on Weberian concepts of the life spheres of politics and economics and the contrasting types of status and purposive contracts. Suggests that to increase emphasis on ends, as well as means, public dialogue should focus on giving an account as well as on holding organizations to account. For public management to focus on giving an account, more attention needs to be given to appreciating a public law framework, understanding the relationships in different types of contract, and creating conditions favourable to communicative rationality.
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