Administrative Law: The People's Watchdog

Advanced nations tend to rely more and more on activist government to enlarge their citizens' wellbeing. But the more government does for people the bigger government gets—and the smaller citizens feel. What champion can fight city hall, slash red tape and rescue the Little Guy from the insolence of Big Bureaucracy?

As far back as 1809, Sweden invented just such a "people's watchdog" and gave him a name, ombudsman, which means representative. Sweden's current ombudsman, Alfred Bexelius, 63, is a unique national mediator who serves the public by prodding laggard civil servants. He...

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