Chapter 8: Public project procurement and the case for public–private partnerships
Historically, theoretical explanations of the state were developed around two perspectives. First, the organic view which draws an analogy between the state and natural organisms in which all members of the governed community are part. In this construct, the state is viewed as a continuum with an independence from, and authority over, its individual members. It was argued by many of the early political philosophers that an understanding of the state suggests a dichotomy in the way the state serves its own interests on the one hand, and as a separate and distinct action, acts in the interests of all members of the community. The organic view is frequently cited as an explanation for the emergence of absolute monarchies and totalitarian states throughout history. A second explanation is the mechanistic approach in which members of the community form a state to undertake collective decision-making on behalf of its members (Hobbes, 1651 ). The mechanistic state has as its object the maximisation of the welfare of all members of the community (Abelson, 2003) and provides a basis from which to understand the core functions of government including the creation of institutions to regulate social and economic behaviour such as a legal system and the provision of public goods (Heilbroner, 1999, p. 69).
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