The McKinseyfication of the State

10/01 Thursday | 5pm

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The Future of Democracy Working Group at the Institute for Public Knowledge and The GovLab at NYU Tandon invite you to join a conversation with Ian MacDougall, investigative journalist and author of a series of revealing pieces in ProPublica on McKinsey’s public sector practice, like “How McKinsey Is Making $100 Million (and Counting) Advising on the Government’s Bumbling Coronavirus Response.”

In this interview with Beth Simone Noveck, Ian will explore the implications of governments turning to private sector consultancies to design and execute policy.  Why are governments relying on management consultancies like McKinsey & Co. in a crisis? What does it say about agility and effectiveness in the public sector? Are non-partisan public servants being side-stepped in favor of consultants who report to and work for political leaders or are consultants just better able to get things done? What does the willingness, even in difficult fiscal conditions, to pay outside fees say about strategy, management and execution capacity in government today? Is it a welcome form of public-private partnership or a harbinger of a hollowing out of government skills and capacity?

Ian MacDougall has written for Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and n+1, among other publications. He has been a contributing reporter at ProPublica and a reporter for the Associated Press. As an AP reporter, he covered the July 2011 bombing and mass shooting perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. A lawyer as well as a reporter,, Ian clerked for federal judges in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C., after law school and spent a year as the First Amendment Fellow at The New York Times before returning to reporting full time. For a time, he drove a school bus on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in southwestern South Dakota.

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