To support local government redesign efforts and recognize the innovative work already underway, the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center has partnered with state associations to create the Local Government Innovation & Redesign Guide and host a yearly Local Government Innovations Awards ceremony.
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Defining the Public Good: What is the Role of Government in Minnesota?
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Continuing Education and Conference Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota
Debates about the public good or general well-being of the public as well as government's role in providing for it have been part of our social and political landscape since the founding of the United States. These debates are about more than the proper size of government or "essential" vs. "non-essential" services that seem to dominate current discourse. At the heart of the definition of the public good is what we value as a society.
"Public" can be defined as something devoted to the general or national welfare or affecting a population or community of the whole. What then does the well-being of the public look like? What is government's responsibility versus personal responsibility in achieving it? What is the role of private or individual choices versus public actions in providing for the public good? If Babington's quote above is correct, the first step in government's keeping the people happy is getting them to define what happiness is. Then come the debates on how best to get there.
As Minnesota faces budget challenges, changing demographics and an evolving national and international landscape, it must consider what will be defined as the public good. This conference is designed to open discussions and debate about these questions. The keynote/plenary session will set the stage for a day of reflection and analysis of how Minnesota defines the public good and what role the public, private and nonprofit sectors have in delivering the services that help provide for our general well-being.
Sponsored by the College of Continuing Education, University of Minnesota and the Economic Resource Group; Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota; Hamline University School of Business; and Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota