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FEDERALISM: WHAT IS IT? PowerPoint Presentation
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FEDERALISM: WHAT IS IT?

FEDERALISM: WHAT IS IT?

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FEDERALISM: WHAT IS IT?

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  1. FEDERALISM: WHAT IS IT? Forum of Federations An Intensive Course on Democratic Federalism

  2. OVERVIEW Federalism in context Federalism: What is it? Federalism: What is it not? Decentralized political systems Some features of federalism When does federalism make sense? The critique of federalism Defence of federalism Concluding observations

  3. FEDERALISM IN CONTEXT • Globalization • Multiple governments; multiple identities • Rapid political change • 25 federations • 40% of the world’s population (2 billion people)

  4. WHAT IS IT? • Constitutional government: shared rule and self rule • Two orders of government, both relating directly to citizens • Distribution of power and revenue sources between the two orders of government • Representation of regions in the centre, often in an upper house • Basic rules normally amendable only with consent of constituent units • Umpire to settle disputes – courts or referendums • Intergovernmental relations for overlapping concerns • ……… • Within this framework, great variety

  5. FEDERALISM: WHAT IS IT NOT? • It is not unitary government, where sovereignty is concentrated in the central government • It is not confederal government, where sovereignty is retained by the associated states • It is federal government, where sovereignty is shared between the two orders of government

  6. DECENTRALIZED SYSTEMS • Decentralized unitary states • Quasi-federal systems • Federations • Confederal arrangements • Mixed systems

  7. SOME FEATURES OF FEDERALISM • AMatter of choice, mutual agreement • The Result of compromise • The Requirement of balance and restraint • A Pragmatic arrangement • A Highly contemporary form of government • A Highly diverse form of government

  8. WHEN DOES FEDERALISM MAKE SENSE? • In very large countries • When accommodating history, tradition and local loyalties as new states are being formed • When accommodating significant ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious differentiation in existing states • When there is a mix of these factors

  9. THE CRITIQUE OF FEDERALISM • Complex, slow to change, tolerates uneven development and regional inequality, duplicates functions and services • The allocation of responsibilities and resources to two orders of government is difficult • Thought to be an expensive system of government • ‘Minorities within minorities’ problem • Unstable: A halfway house en route to secession

  10. DEFENCE OF FEDERALISM • Helps to establish peace and security, construct common values, and foster pluralist democracy • Protects and moderates human diversity • ‘Losers’ at the national level can become ‘winners’ at the regional level • Increases political participation, with multiple access points; greater choice • Encourages experimentation • Brings government closer to the people, fosters responsive administration

  11. CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS • No magic bullet. Federalism by itself is not ‘The Answer’ • Federal government is constitutional government • For countries in crisis, federalism is often the ‘least bad option’ – better than any of the alternatives that present themselves. Everyone’s second choice. • Federalism is typically built on hard-won compromise, where no party is in a position to win absolute victory