Where the power should be? 18 replies

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Relander

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8th April 2005

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#1 12 years ago

Geographicly big countries such as the United States of America and Brazil tend to be federations with central (federal) government but also individual state/region governments. But what should be the relation of central government to local governments in terms of power?

Do you prefer strong federal government which makes decisions even about local issues or should there be strong states with relatively weak central government which just takes care from foreign policy, military and some major legislation? Discuss.




Red Menace

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10th August 2004

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#2 12 years ago

Back before instant communication and that sort of thing, I would probably lean more towards States Rights, considering that they better understand the people in their area and could respond quicker to their needs. But now with instant communication I lean more towards a stronger federal government, a phone call from Washington D.C. gets to me just as fast as a phone call from Sacramento. That and the politicians in Sacramento care as much about me as the politicians in Washington D.C., null, just when the shit hits the fan, D.C. has got more money to spend. I also prefer laws to jive state to state, like if I put on a pink shirt in California and get arrested in Texas because they have a no pink shirt law, an exaggeration, but knowing Texas...

I still want the states to have some power to govern though, but frankly, the less power either of them had over me, the better.


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Junk angel

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#3 12 years ago

The entire viewpoint is strongly dependant, on the fact, in which country you live.

If you live in good ol' patchwork Europe, the chance, that you will in a country smaller than an american state is high.

People in these countries (like myself) often gravitade towards a wish of a stronger central government - due to lower populations, one feels ttheir vote is important.

Yet local governments are needed as well - district governemnts. For instance, the government of Prague, is to many people more important than the actual government of the Czech Republic. Yet both are seen as strong, both are seen as extremely necessary.

Whereas in states like the Us, where the sheer size and population, make the people often feel less having a less important vote, the chances of a gravitation towards a wish of a very strong (federal) government is very strong. It's actually very much like Europe with the EU - only far more integrated with a much stronger central governemnt.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#4 12 years ago

I think giving states the ability to decide for themselves is basically more democratical, however, there are a lot of problems that can only be taken care of at a federal level. If the effect of the laws of a neighbouring state can be detrimental to another state it's better to create a federal law instead.

All in all I'd favour federal government instead of local government since this makes it easier to work towards the benefit of a country. Increasing the power of local governments grants them the possibility to care more about their own state than about the union, which sort of defeats the whole federal idea.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#5 12 years ago

If the governor of one state is corrupt then he affects a relative minority of the people on a country wide level; if the governor of the entire country is corrupt everyone suffers. Much as I support a proper checks and balances system I support the division of governmental power to a local level as far as is realistically possible while maintaining social order.




Guest

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#6 12 years ago

I believe the federal government should have final say in everything, however, just like in any large organization power needs to be delegated to the states. It's not that I support state rights so much as I support state power delegation. It's a strong Federal government that employs states to get the job done. So I voted strong federal government. Ultimately the Federal government should be able to counter what the local government does though, to maintain order.

You might argue there should be separation of powers and I think there should be as well, but a different separation of powers at each level, not between levels. By this I mean the current system of the Federal legislative, executive, and judicial branches and then the State legislative, executive and judicial branches. But the state branches should have to answer to their Federal counterparts.

Ideally I would like a one-world government with heavy delegation into geographically unique areas so each area gets it's individual attention, but this is unrealistic of course for any time in the semi-near future.




Karst

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#7 12 years ago

A difficult question, obviously both regional and federal authorities need to have a say in governing. Overall I think lending all too much power to regional government can be abused, like in the Kano state of Nigeria, where local authorities imposed Sharia law. Obviously this is not particularly likely to happen in a more democratic country, but it's not unheard of that local authorities with somewhat extreme views, and far more local than national support, will try to craft whatever region they're in control of against the principles of the state as a whole. On the other hand, like Red Menace said local authorities are likely to have a better understanding of local issues (obviously), although the dealings with those are unlikely to require federal legislation anyway. Like I said, there's no ultimate solution.




Ryette

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#8 12 years ago

Having been well educated in US History, I've got to say that federal government is a better choice.

A little history lesson:

The Articles of Confederation was a terrible way to govern a country, it made the whole country extremely weak and unable to work as one.

It had no chief executive and Congress made decisions through committees, meaning there was no uniform foreign policy.

There was no national court system, leaving individual state to interpret national laws, which meant it was difficult to get states to adhere to the decisions made by the state court.

9/13 states had to vote in favor of new laws, which meant that new laws were hardly ever, ever passed.

The Article couldn't enforce it's own laws, which meant the central government could only ask that states follow national laws.

To pass a new Amendment, 13/13 states had to approve. An Amendment never passed.

The central government couldn't enforce treaties (such as our inability to force the British to abide by the Treaty of Paris 1783).

They had no way to enforce or collect taxes, which meant the central government had no money to spend, which meant that when states called on aid from the central government, they couldn't provide, as seen in Shays' Rebellion. When the central government asked to borrow money from states, most states would refuse. This also meant that Congress couldn't wage war.

Finally, they couldn't regulate inter-state commerce, so foreign trade couldn't be regulated, meaning that it was impossible to protect American business.

So, if learning from the past is anything to go by, a strong central government checked by the states is best.

EDIT: I would've worded this better and made it easier to read, and I have more to say, but school is calling. More when I return. ^_^




Relander

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#9 12 years ago

I see that big countries with big populations & distinctively different local conditions are best off by being federations without overly powerful central governments: local governments elected by local people know best the local conditions, needs & wishes and if the people in Kano state of Nigeria wanted Sharia law, then it's their choice if it doesn't go against the constitution or similar document. The people would have more power to decide about their own issues which would strenghten people's interest & positive attitude on politics, enabling better representation of the people. State legislator is much nearer to people than Congressman in Washington, if not by any other measurement than feel of it.

The central government would take care of the military, foreign policy, border security, federal police & court system and election regulations while collecting federal taxes to support itself, and also decide from some major domestic legislation like deciding about death penalty, national infrastructure & the constitution. This way the states wouldn't become too strong while they would maintain their large autonomy from the federal government.

For me this is a clear cut issue in case like the USA but when it comes to European nations such as Finland, strong central government is the best solution due to small population, geographical size and somewhat similar regions. Provincial governance would be very limited and municipalities would have strong autonomy, communicating & operating directly with the central government in most cases. Municipalities are the basic blocks of decision-making in the society but still the voter turnout tend to be much lower compared to parliamentary elections, at least here which is somewhat strange.




AlDaja

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#10 12 years ago
For me this is a clear cut issue in case like the USA but when it comes to European nations such as Finland, strong central government is the best solution due to small population, geographical size and somewhat similar regions. Provincial governance would be very limited and municipalities would have strong autonomy, communicating & operating directly with the central government in most cases. Municipalities are the basic blocks of decision-making in the society but still the voter turnout tend to be much lower compared to parliamentary elections, at least here which is somewhat strange.

BINGO!!:nodding:




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