In this article, we examine the implications of the reinvention movement for democratic governance, broadly defined. The most basic premise of the reinvention movement is a belief that the accumulation of the narrowly defined self‐interests of many individuals can adequately approximate the public interest. By “narrowly defined,” we mean the interests of individuals as they privately apprehend them, unmediated by participation in a process of civic discourse. To illustrate the centrality of this assumption to the implicit theory of reinvention, we consider three of its elements—its use of the market model, its emphasis on customers rather than citizens, and its glorification of entrepreneurial management. We then examine the implications of the self‐interest assumption, which entails a rejection of democratic citizenship, civic engagement, and the public interest, broadly conceived.
Public Administration Review
Blackwell Publishers Inc.