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As the big institutions of modern society have more and more come to organise our lives, a movement in social democracy has gathered pace which, recognising how little it is that individuals can do to control or criticise these creatures, seeks to transform their authority and responsibility into accountability. This means that systems of reckoning be devised which will regularly review performances, in particular of the state bureaucracies (schools, hospitals, welfare, benefits, pensions, police, etc.) and, in drawing up such audits, balance sheets, inspectorial reports and so on, will render up accounts – accounts which take in not just how the money has been spent (though that above all), but also whether, in the jargon, ‘value has been added’, whether the institutions have made ...

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