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By Dennis F. Thompson

During this vital choice of essays Dennis Thompson argues for an improved belief of accountability in public lifestyles than prevails in modern democracies. He means that we must always cease pondering a lot approximately public ethics when it comes to person vices (such as selfishness or sexual misconduct) and begin puzzling over it extra when it comes to institutional vices (such as abuse of strength and absence of accountability). Combining idea and perform with many concrete examples and suggestions for reform those essays might be utilized in classes in utilized ethics or political concept and should be learn through execs and graduate scholars in colleges of political technological know-how, public coverage, legislations, public well-being, journalism and enterprise.

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Ignorance ceases even to mitigate responsibility. But that an official apply pressure, even of the mild sort Shriver evidently exerted, is not a necessary condition for making an official responsible for the subsequent actions of others. An official who sets in motion bureaucratic routines cannot escape culpability for the consequences even if he or she is no longer involved in the process when the consequences occur. The system of double-bookkeeping that Henry Kissinger approved in 1969, supposedly to conceal a single bombing attack on Cambodia, persisted “by rote and without a special new decision” and led other officials in 1973 to give Congress false information (Kissinger 1979a, 7; 1979b, 239–54).

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