Chapter 14

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Political Science
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Fiona T Rahman

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Federalism- Chapter 14 16/12/2012 10:11:00 AM A. Multilevel governance = applies to the idea of pluralism and policy networks to the relationships between tiers of government. It emerges when practitioners from several levels of government share the task of making regulations and forming policy, usually in conjunction with relevant interest groups. 1. Pluralism = or rule by many, is a model of politics in which influence is shared amoung multiple interests and organizations, rather than concentrated on a single sovereign entity. In a pluralistic poetical system, the government acts primary as an umpire arbitrating between numerous independent interests. Rather than being imposed by the state, the common interest is taken to be emerging from this open competition between particular groups. 2. Policy networks/issue network: is a concept used to denote the extensive range of loosely connected actors in making policy in specialized policy sectors with contemporary liberal democracies. B. Federalism  The principle of sharing sovereignty (and not just power) between central and state (or provincial) governments. 1. Federal as opposed to a unitary state a) Unitary state = a state in which “sovereignty lies exclusively with the central government. In practice, unitary states often disperse power  Deconcentration: central government functions are executed by staff in the field.  Decentralization: central government functions are executed by subnational authorities.  Devolution: central government grants some decision- making autonomy to lower levels. 2. In theory, and often in practice, unitary states retain the right to their power (they can abolish the lower governments they created.) 3. Federal as opposed to a confederation Confederation = a confederation is a weak link between participating countries, in which the members retain their separate statehood. Confederations fall between two stools, lacking both the flexibility of a traditional alliance and the binding character of a federation. Examples: short lived system adopted by United States. What are the strengths and weaknesses of federalism? 1. Strengths  A practical arrangement for large countries  Provides checks and balances  Allows for the recognition of diversity  Reduces overload at the centre  Provides competition between provinces and allows citizens to move between them.  Offers opportunities for policy experiments  Allows small units to cooperate in achieving the economic and military advantages of size  Brings government closer to the people. 2. Weaknesses o May be less effective in responding got security threats o Decision making is slow and complicated;’ trouble, expense and delay’ o Can entrench divisions between provinces o The centre experiences greater difficulty in launching national initiatives. o How citizens are treated depends in where they live o Complicates accountability: who is responsible? o May permit majorities within a province to exploit a minority o Basing representation in the upper chamber on states violates the principle of one person, one vote. Division of Powers and Balance of
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