The idea of fiduciary government is venerable. However, it has also been developed in new and sometimes provocative ways by contemporary theorists. Partly as a result, the idea is facing fresh criticism. Critics allege that government (in general, or in respect of particular governmental functions, branches, or offices) is not properly characterized as fiduciary either because public administration is in relational terms categorically unlike private (fiduciary) administration, or because recognizably fiduciary norms are inapplicable in public administration. Proponents of fiduciary theories of government have fostered both kinds of objection by misstating or overstating the relational and normative correspondence between private and public administration. In this essay, I provide a qualified defense of fiduciary government, showing how both kinds of objection can be definitively answered but in a way that cedes ground (necessarily, and appropriately) on differences between private and public administration. I do so by explaining how private and public administration implicate forms of representation and so, invariably, a fiduciary mode of relating to others.
Miller, Paul B, Fiduciary Representation (January 4, 2018) in Evan J Criddle, Evan Fox-Decent, Andrew S Gold, Sung Hui Kim, and Paul B Miller, eds, Fiduciary Government (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).