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Communication in economy and public administration.

Newspapers, magazines and television nowadays are filled with articles and features regarding "the new economy" (also referred to as the "digital" economy). Just like the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, which transformed first the Great Britain and then other countries from agriculture based economies into industry based economies, information revolution promises to transform all aspects of our daily life.

The new technologies keep their promise and transform everything, in particular the process of communication, economy, and public administration. But are these transformations only positive, are their effects imprinted with otherness (opening to the other), or rather with self-centrism (closing in one's own ego)?

In the 20th century, communications grew prodigiously in respect with the quantitative aspect. It might be said, on the edge, that nothing happens where television doesn't exist: unless mediated--broadcasted in the mass-media--nothing exists. Television (which annuls distances and delivers information worldwide) brings a new dimension for inter- consciences communication. Nonetheless, there can be said that mass-media, in a certain way, forecasts communication, whilst mediated communication is actually "non-communication", to be more precise a single-way communication (the answer of the viewer, his participation in the broadcasting are rare and of artificial nature, and feedback is almost inexistent), an information transmission which given the difference specific to this process (the term of communication comes from the Latin "communicare" meaning at the beginning "putting a number of things in common, regardless their nature", and in Romanian also keeping the cultural, ecclesiastic meaning of the Latin tem in the form of the Romanian word cuminecare, English Eucharist = becoming a part in, to something), given its nature, its social binder function, it rather dissolves than it develops and strengthens. Communication--as process for manifesting otherness, putting together, coding and un-coding--is anyway mined by the fact that the transmitter and receiver cannot operate with the same code (for both objective and subjective reasons: the random nature of the linguistic sign, the difference in the perceptive horizon, our own subjectivity itself representing the main obstacle), therefore the wish must exist for creating a common "language", code between the two communication ends, regardless the plan in which we are placed. However, if for instance we hear the following statement (randomly selected): "the curve of the liquidity preference, of the demand for currency, can deform, it can move to plan (i, Y); first due to the evolution in the economic agents' behavior in result to banking innovations modifying the demand for currency; then, because depending on the political or economic context, the economic agents' demand for currency (for a given interest rate) can change, and also because function L is dependant on the production and activity level; (...) and many similar others from the Economy treaties, we can draw the conclusion that economy--initially designating the science regarding household (oikos = household, nomos = habit, convention, law)--is a "closed" area, meaning it uses a technical, extremely specialized, formalized language, whilst economists have lost their vocation of providing to the others the results of their work and of making them more familiarized with managing their "house" (= their living area, country). It can be noticed that economists do not attempt to create a common language with their readers, to communicate (=its relational nature, its social binder function, its community strengthening function), hence the current hiatus between the strictly specialized texts and their referent, the reality they attempt to explain. Issues such as economic organization of the society, production, distribution etc. are analyzed by economy specialists as if their only readers would be also economy specialists.

The excessive specialization--in detriment of communication (= placing in common) can be noticed in all areas, and the new technologies of the 20th century and the informational explosion further enhance this process. In particular, in economy, as well as in the public administration theory it is extremely important for this "technicality" of the areas on the "language" (form) level should not become a technicality in respect with the content, meaning the economy should not completely lose its otherness valences, it should not forget that it appeared to serve the humans, and not out of narcissism (in order to demonstrate how "high", how great the human economical thinking can be). The economy should not forget that it occurred as a discipline aiming to help its kind (and not specialists) to understand how economies function at the beginning of the 21st century, such that to enable them to manage at the best the place where they live, their country.

The same phenomenon can be also noticed in the case of public administration, which instead of building a reciprocally benefic relationship, similar to the sacred Eucharist, a common "language" with the citizen, it rather prefers to "ossify" in its own code, sometimes explicitly manifesting its indifference in respect with the citizen's code (although by origins administration means obediently serving the law, and hence the citizen). Can we talk about communication in respect with such?

Moreover, in the 20th century the human community tended to privilege the informative nature of communication compared to its other aspects, which represents the distinctive feature of this process (the opening towards the other, otherness), hence exposing to some paradoxes, rather leading to the dissolution of communication and the community than to their strengthening. If we oversize the "horizontal" axis of the inter-human communication, yet without considering their "vertical" aspirations (in this case, of economic, administrative nature), and namely the permanent sub-layer of the communication concept, the one of "putting together a number of things, regardless their nature"--we could as a paradox assist to the communication's dissolution (and in parallel of the community), in a century when the specific means of this process reach their peak.

The same alarm signal is also valid for economy or the public administration theory. Unless we consider the initial significances of economy and administration, which were a matter of otherness, and not of self-centrism (= unilateral ego, egocentrism development), if we forget that they occurred as human serving sciences (for instance, in 1776, Adam Smith--the founder of economy published "Nations' Welfare", attempting to explain to the readers the prices in the agriculture of the 18th century, by the fundamental economy laws), and not as sciences aiming to protect humanity by building genuine ivory towers, we could assist to the same dissolution process out of too much (somehow natural phenomenon in the natural world), out of too much "blossoming".

CORINA PAPUC, University of Bucharest.
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Author:Papuc, Corina
Publication:Annals of the University of Bucharest, Economic and Administrative Series
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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