The Constitutive System. The deepest flaws in the presidentialist model arise from the "separation-of- powers" which, after all, is its fundamental principle, reflecting the continuing struggle between King and Parliament which prevailed when the American Constitution was designed. Although this principle helps to prevent abuses of power so long as the constitutional regime lasts, its inherent limitations become apparent in the conditions that both generate and result from regime collapse. When the Executive and Legislative branches cannot reach consensus on major issues, gridlocks arise in the decision-making process which lead to indecisiveness and drift. Presidentialist regimes are blocked by this basic feature from reaching agreements on many controversial issues, leading to drift and indecisiveness that seriously hamper the regime's ability to cope with urgent problems.
In a non-modern context -- such as the situation that prevailed in the 18th century when the American model was created -- most of the problems that citizens needed to handle could be solved at the local level and by non- governmental institutions, such as the church, family and markets. Increasingly, as industrialization proceeded and international problems became more complex and urgent, the need for decisiveness in all modern governments increased to the point where indecisiveness became a fundamental limitation. In many countries following the presidentialist model, presidents (with the support of their armed forces) were able to override Congress and use emergency powers to cope with such problems in an essentially unconstitutional way -- alternatively, democracy collapsed and military officers seized power by means of a coup d'etat.
Ironically, therefore, a constitutional design that gave priority to the need to avoid the arbitrary exercise of power led, in fact, to breakdowns and tyrannies in which power would be used ruthlessly, without constitutional safeguards. Moreover, in all such systems, important problems requiring governmental action could not be solved because the capacity of the regime to make decisions was seriously impaired.
In parliamentarist regimes, by contrast, the ability of cabinet governments to rely on party discipline to generate political support for urgently needed policies made them more decisive. At the same time, the capacity of parliament to oust a cabinet by a vote of no confidence meant that, in practice, it became easier to hold regimes accountable and to preserve human rights.
No doubt, in some cases, the anticipated obstacles to effective government were overcome in presidentialist regimes, and the expected capacity of parliamentary governments to work were not met. The United States, for example, was able to make its presidentialist model work well enough to survive periods of great crisis, such as its Civil War, the Great Depression, and several major international conflicts. Important variations among the parliamentarist regimes also contributed to the inability of some of them to make important decisions -- in Italy, for example, electoral rules which permitted the proliferation of political parties making uncompromising demands contributed to frequent crises and the inability of cabinets to find enough common ground among their members to resolve many urgent problems. Nevertheless, the qualities of a constitutional system need to be evaluated by its normal results, not its exceptional cases. The truth, I think, is that normally presidentialist regimes collapse (with exceptions, like the U.S.) and, normally, parliamentarist regimes are more successful (again, with exceptions, as we have seen in Italy). The importance of the differences noted here will become more apparent when we look at the concrete problems of industrialism and nationalism that all modern states need to confront.
Bureaucracy. A second basic contrast between presidentialist and parliamentarist regimes concerns their ability to manage a public bureaucracy. Although the basic principles of bureaucratic organization were established long ago in empires like that of China and Rome, modernity has compelled modern bureaucracies to deal with a wide range of more complex and difficult problems. Far-reaching reforms in public administration have become necessary in order for any modern state to deal effectively with such problems, especially those created by industrialism and nationalism.
As we shall see, the capacity of presidentialist regimes to manage an increasingly complex and powerful bureaucracy is significantly weaker than the capacity of parliamentarist regimes to do the same thing. Bureaucratic power provides a basic clue to our understanding of the problem. Although conventional theories of public administration treat appointed officials as "servants" of the state without autonomous power or political roles, in fact bureaucrats cannot deal effectively with the difficult problems of modern management unless they have a good deal of authority to act quickly, wisely and discretely when handling new and complex problems that vary from place to place and time to time so much that routinization of administration is often seriously dysfunctional.
In order to manage a bureaucracy capable of dealing with modern problems, therefore, constitutive systems require a powerful and unified driving force. Because of the separation of powers, presidentialist regimes are inherently incapable of generating such a force. Instead of offering unity of command, which administrative theorists insist upon as a necessary condition for modern management, presidentialism provides disunity of command. Not only is it difficult to secure agreements between the President and Congress, but in practice the heavy agenda carried by any congress compels it to delegate vast powers to its subcommittees, and the congeries of department heads that constitute a so-called "cabinet" in presidentialist regimes actually build competing bureaucratic empires.
The inherent disunity of command found in both the Congress and "Cabinet" of any presidentialist regime is compounded by the power of Courts to declare laws and regulations "unconstitutional," putting their enforcement into jeopardy. The potential for gridlock between President and Congress compels presidentialist regimes to empower an umpire in the form of a Judicial authority (a Supreme Court) that is able to impose a "rule of law" on these contending parties. This is typically done by reifying the Constitution as the ultimate source of authority in a presidentialist state. Thereby, the judicial branch becomes a third element in the disunity of command that haunts bureaucrats and makes their role inherently problematic in presidentialist regimes.
This also means, of course, that the intentions of both the President and the Congress can be flouted at the implementation level by adverse court decisions. Thus cross- pressured by competing power centers, bureaucrats in a presidentialist regime often find themselves responsible for the implementation of mutually incompatible or contradictory guide-lines that are both personally demoralizing and administratively inefficient.
By contrast, the fusion of power in a Cabinet under parliamentarist rules give the government sufficient unity of command to permit it to manage and coordinate a bureaucracy that is powerful enough to deal effectively with the increasingly complex problems of modernity. Moreover, because officials are not responsible to a multiplicity of centers of authority, they can administer more efficiently. Parliamentarism, therefore, provides a more coherent framework for managing the hierarchic component of a modern government (or organization) than the older disjointed presidentialist system based on the separation of powers.
If we look at this question from the bottom-up instead of top-down, we will see that powerful bureaucracy any modern state needs to cope with the problems of an industrialized multi-ethnic society cannot be managed effectively by a presidentialist regime, but it is manageable in parliamentarist systems. Any such bureaucracy in a presidentialist system would soon become so dominant that the constitutive system could not operate independently -- it would become a puppet of appointed officials and representative government would become a farce. In order to remain politically viable, therefore, a presidentialist regime cannot afford to establish a truly effective bureaucracy -- instead, it must content itself with a second-rate structure that is weak enough not to threaten the political role of the constitutive system: the cost, of course, is a marked reduction in the administrative capability of the bureaucratic system.
From the bottom up, moreover, ambitious and clever bureaucrats can easily defy authority because of the essential weakness of the fragmented structure of governance inherent in presidentialism.#5 The inherent inability of presidentialist regimes to make prompt and clear decisions about controversial new problems is, therefore, amplified by the inability or unwillingness of demoralized and harshly criticized public officials to implement public policies that are, admittedly, not clearly articulated and coordinated. By contrast, the more powerful and experienced bureaucrats that parliamentary systems can safely employ are both better qualified and better motivated to join forces to achieve the goals set for them by a fused power structure in the constitutive system.
Legitimacy. A third fundamental difference between presidentialist and parliamentarist democracies involves the basis for achieving legitimacy. All public policies work better when citizens accept the right of the government to make and implement them: by contrast, the more the legitimacy of a regime is challenged, the more it resorts to coercion and other sanctions to secure compliance with its policies. High levels of resistance, of course, generate forceful responses: the police power and even armed enforcement typically create a vicious circle that further increases the costs and ineffectiveness of governance.
It is inherently easier, I believe, for parliamentarist regimes to achieve legitimacy in governance than for presidentialist regimes, making it easier for the former to solve the major problems of modernity. We should remember that the legitimacy of traditional monarchies rested on supernatural premises, the ability of the regime to use rituals and sacrifices to influence the spirit world so as to enhance the health, wealth and security of all its subjects. As secularization spread, however, the sacred premises of monarchic authority were eroded, leading kings to rely increasingly on coercion by their expanding police and armed forces. This costly expedient compelled them to tax their subjects more heavily, a trend that reinforced the vicious circle of declining legitimacy and reliance on threats of violence.
Increasing coercion and rising costs contributed to the political pressures for transforming the basis of governmental sovereignty and authority, creating a new type of constitutional system. When popular sovereignty was proposed as an alternative foundation for governmental authority and as a basis for designing public policies and winning the support of citizens, questions about how that sovereignty should be organized became critically important. Several factors that complicated the transition from royal to democratic sovereignty may now be mentioned.
First, and most obviously, attention focussed on the role of head of state. Increasingly, as secularization undermined traditional religious beliefs, kings came to be viewed in the West as mere symbols of authority rather than as vehicles for the exercise of divine powers. As this transformation occurred, it seemed increasingly reasonable to replace bad kings with better kings and, finally, to elect presidents as their surrogates. This was almost all that happened when presidentialism as a proto-modern system was invented in the United States: the contentious relation between the chief executive and the elected assembly that had evolved in England was perpetuated in the American republic.
At first, as during the presidency of George Washington in the U.S., his ceremonial functions as head of state and unifier of thirteen fractious colonies were more salient than the additional functions he exercised as head of government -- with a tiny bureaucracy and minimal administrative duties. Since most governmental functions, under a federalist constitution, remained with the states, and the industrial revolution had scarcely begun, it seemed reasonable to assume that a popular elected head of state could replace the king as a basis for legitimizing the regime.
Increasingly, however, all presidents in presidentialist systems, must take stands, as head of government on controversial issues which, cumulatively, multiply the number of their opponents. In late-modern times, howeveer, the presidential agenda has become so monumental that superhuman energy, intelligence and patience would be required to succeed, and little time remains for the less urgent tasks performed by a head of state. So long as the same person has to handle both roles, the ceremonial functions of a reigning figurehead are bound to suffer.
Moreover, the electoral competition used to select a president produces harsh enemies so that incumbents typically had many opponents who challenge his capacity to speak for the "nation." Since the early days, quite ordinary men have often won the elections to the U.S. presidency, men who were scarcely able to make controversial decisions and perform their ceremonial functions with equanimity and grace. It should be clear that the role of president cannot really replace that of a king as the focus of legitimacy for a sovereign state. A more potent basis for legitimizing a secularized democracy is needed.
Such a foundation for public authority emerged during the nineteenth century, as kings increasingly devolved their power to parliaments. Concurrently, the focus of legitimacy also moved from the throne to the elected assembly -- instead of the supernatural powers of a king, regimes rested their authority on the basic idea that citizens could make collective choices as a basis for governing themselves. Ideally, as in the ancient city states, they could reach consensus by means of direct democracy, but with the increased size of all modern states, a substitute could be found by electing representatives to act for the people in assemblies. The authentic surrogate for royal sovereignty, therefore, would be the voice of the people, as expressed through representative bodies, rather than any performances by a chief of state.
Sovereignty. Parliamentarism decisively moved the legitimacy of state power from kings to parliaments -- sovereignty was transferred from the monarchy to the people as represented in elected assemblies. Significantly, Parliaments are not just legislative bodies capable of making laws, but they are above all constituent bodies with the authority to write and revise constitutions. Frequently a distinction is made in parliamentary regimes between the simple majority required to approve an ordinary law, and the special majority needed for a constitutional reform. This may include numerical majorities of significantly more than 50% of the members, and/or endorsement of a constitutional change at two or more sessions. By contrast, the congress in a presidentialist regime lacks such authority -- although it may propose amendments, they need to be ratified by the citizenry, or by state governments. Thus, even on its face, the constitutional authority of any Congress is significantly less than that of a Parliament.
The most conspicuous difference between a Parliament and a Congress, however, lies in its ability to discharge the government (its own executive committee, created by the assembly itself, without the authority granted to a popularly elected president). This structural relationship makes the executive function in parliamentary regimes continuously subject to public accountability. By contrast, although presidentialist regimes usually give Congress the right to impeach a president (because of malfeasance in office), presidents normally retain their offices until the end of a fixed term, even when they have lost the support of the people's representatives in Congress.
I mention these differences to emphasize the point that Parliament is a genuine focus of legitimacy and accountability for any democracy whereas a Congress is not. Moreover, this basic distinction is reinforced by some other considerations which typically make Parliament a more effective legitimizer of governance and focus of sovereignty than any Congress.
The first such consideration arises from the fact that there is no structural difference between the Legislative and Executive branches of government under parliamentary rules. The government is, actually, a component of Parliament -- something we often forget. Since a Cabinet can stay in office only so long as it retains the confidence of a parliamentary majority, and because it must resign after losing a vote of confidence, parliamentary governments are able to secure popular support for their policies in a way that is not available to Presidents in their adversarial relations with Congress. Since parliamentary governments can usually dissolve the assembly and call for new elections after losing a vote of confidence, even members of the majority parties who may not personally approve a government bill are strongly motivated to support it in order to avoid the costs of new elections.
A paradoxical consequence of party discipline arises from the freedom it offers members of parliament who are outside the government to speak freely about their views: "back benchers" who belong to majority parties but are not cabinet members -- they are often among the government's most vocal critics. Because basic policy decisions are made in cabinet, with the advice of senior civil servants, the typical parliamentary agenda is much lighter than that of a congress. Although that means the effective day-to- day political influence MPs is less than that of members of Congress, their ability to speak openly and forcefully on major philosophical and policy issues is much greater. The net effect is that Parliament offers better "political theater" than Congress -- it not only supports lively and much publicized debates on major issues, but all government policies must be announced in Parliament, rather than by media releases or press conferences. Taken together, these practices make parliaments the authentic focus of legitimacy in a way that no congress can achieve -- nor, I believe, can any elected president.#6
In fact, because of the separation of powers, there is no institutional basis for political legitimacy in a presidentialist regime. The congress is merely one of the branches of government and, in that role, as vulnerable to criticism as the president or the judiciary. No branch can act effectively as a focus for popular loyalty to a regime. Instead, therefore, the archaic trunk from which the branches sprang is just a document, a written Charter which, somehow, is supposed to represent the long-term popular consensus on which the regime rests. It may even be expected to resolve such modern dilemmas as the right of a dying man to have a doctor's help in committing suicide or accomplishing an abortion. In parliamentarist regimes such issues are viewed as public policy questions to be decided, ultimately, by parliamentary votes.
Sadly, charters cannot speak. Instead of a representative institution as the living organ of popular sovereignty, therefore, presidentialist regimes must depend on the courts to decide how their "founders" would have decided contemporary moral dilemmas: appointed judges, in the seclusion of their chambers, become the ultimate arbiters of what is or is not legitimate public policy. How ironic for a polity based, ostensibly, on the polyarchic principles of representative governance! Because of the unprecedented new problems generated by modernity, we face the paradox that the older the constitution, the more legitimacy it possesses and the more anachronistic it becomes. New presidentialist constitutions may be more relevant to contemporary issues, but their very newness limits their authority.
Since the American Constitution is now more than 200 years old, it has acquired a sacred character that appeals to all parties in most controversies, and gives the Supreme Court a kind of ultimate authority that rests, not on their wisdom as elder statesmen, but rather on their claimed ability to make final determinations of what the Constitution "really means" or its authors had in mind. Such a foundation is surely fragile if we reflect that a proto-modern document has to provide the basis for legitimizing all governmental decisions in a late-modern era. Viability. Without engaging in a debate about whether presidentialism is preferable in some senses to parliamentarism, there is empirical evidence that parliamentarist regimes survive longer than presidentialist regimes, i.e., they are more viable. On the basis of a statistical analysis of 135 countries observed annually between 1950 and 1990, Przeworski and his associates concluded that "Parliamentary regimes last longer, much longer, than presidential ones..." (Przeworski et al, 1996, p.47)#7 This finding reinforces my own earlier conclusions (Riggs, 1993).#8 Unfortunately, neither the essay by Przeworski nor any other analyses available to me really explain the greater durability of parliamentarist regimes by comparison with presidentialist ones. The considerations discussed above suggest, I think, the inherent ability of parliamentarist regimes to cope with some serious problems more effectively than presidentialist regimes. I will devote the rest of this report to an analysis of how these constitutional alternatives affect the solution of two such sets of problems -- those posed by industrialization and the rise of modern (ethnic) nationalism. In both cases, I believe, parliamentary regimes are more likely to succeed than presidentialist ones. If this is true, it would, I think, help us explain and understand the greater survivability of the former type of political system.
Skeptics will, nevertheless, question this finding by pointing out that presidentialist regimes are rarely if ever transformed into parliamentarist systems. Moreover, when the breakdown of military dictatorships and communist authoritarianisms occur, the new regimes that are formed -- more often than not -- opt for some kind of presidentialist constitutional system. We may well wonder why that should be true.
One explanation is simply expedient: charismatic leaders of revolutionary movements against discredited dictatorships are strongly attracted to the presidentialist model which seems to enhance their own powers by contrast with those of elected assemblies. It also appears to give them the authority to act quickly and decisively to solve urgent problems whereas the deliberative process found in assemblies makes them slower to act and often unable to make decisions.
Nevertheless, many of the new states created on the ashes of collapsed empires have adopted parliamentarist constitutional models: one might wonder why this should be so. The answer, I think, can be found if one distinguishes between the new states that had to fight for their independence and those that were created by non-violent negotiations with their former rulers. The latter were guided to imitate the constitutional designs that had evolved in their metropoles. Only the Philippines, as a former dependency of the U.S., chose presidentialism. Most of the other new states, especially those that had been under British and French rule, copied the systems that prevailed in London and Paris. As for those who fought for their independence, it seems apparent that those who did so in the 19th century adopted presidentialism for the same reasons the United States did. By contrast, those who emerged after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 adopted single-party authoritarianism whether or not they had received support from the Soviet Union or accepted a Communist ideology.
When such single-party regimes collapse, more freedom of choice may be experienced by the new elites who struggle to create democratic governance in the years that follow. The prospects for creating democratic regimes in these countries has excited great intellectual and international interest. However, advisers from the most influential great powers often promote projects intended to lead fledgling democracies to adopt the forms of governance with which they are most familiar. Lip-service is usually paid to the right of "founding fathers" in each new state to design constitutional structures that are uniquely appropriate to their special conditions and needs, and a great deal of effort is expended in the elaboration of normative preambles, the articulation of aspirations and goals and the promulgation of "bills of rights."Although rational choices between the presidentialist and parliamentarist framework for democratic self-government appear to be eminently desirable, the fact is that expediency and the interests of those already in power play a more decisive role. Just as kings resisted efforts to shift power to representative assemblies, so the beneficiaries of presidentialist rule oppose the basic changes that would establish parliamentarist regimes. In fact, therefore, we can expect existing presidentialist countries to preserve their constitutional systems. Countries that inherited parliamentarist institutions from their former rulers are likely to retain them -- again, those in power can be counted on to resist changes in an unpredictable direction. However, when a parliamentary regime has collapsed and military dictators have taken power, we may expect strong leaders of pro-democracy movements to favor presidentialism as a formula likely to enable them to gain and retain power.
If American advisers are consulted, they will often (though not always) suggest that, because the U.S. constitution has lasted so long and because American wealth and power are so widely admired or envied, new states ought to embrace the presidentialist model. Because such advisers typically know little about the pitfalls of presidentialism as experienced in other countries, they usually underestimate its limitations. The contentiousness of parliaments and the frequency of cabinet crises also lead many analysts to conclude that presidentialism offers more hope than parliamentarism for stability and firm leadership during crises when far-reaching transformations need to be managed coherently and consistently.
Admittedly historical forces, expedient interests and resistance to fundamental change all conspire to block rational choices on constitutional questions. However, ignorance also permits bad choices to be made in contexts where a better understanding of their consequences might lead key decision-makers to favor a different outcome. I believe the advantages of parliamentarism outlined above are not well understood. If they could be explained to decision- makers, they might make better choices. Such outcomes will be even more likely if we think about the problems of modernity -- especially its para- modern costs -- and consider how constitutional choices affect a state's capacity to cope with these problems. In the rest of this report, I shall focus first on industrialism and then on nationalism, looking at how constitutional design affects a country's ability to manage the fundamental transformations they require.
The first and perhaps most important component of modernity is industrialism. Modern technology and scientific discoveries are among the most admired fruits of industrialization and they are prototypically ortho-modern. To ride in an automobile or airplane, to use a telephone, to listen to the radio and television, or communicate on the INTERNET, all these modern phenomena are fruits of industrialization. However, the most dangerous and threatening aspects of modernity are also products of the same fundamental transformation: weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs and biological weapons, are good examples. Even the most benign fruits of industrialism can have frightening consequences: as noted above, we all benefit from air travel yet dread its accidents.
Modern medicine has brought better health, longer life, reduced infant mortality, and also, sad to say, a population explosion that is world threatening. The rise of cotton as a replacement for wool powered the industrial revolution, especially in England (Sansom, 1973) and brought washable and colorful clothing within the reach of even the poorest people, yet the demand for cotton also brought slavery and tyranny to plantations in the United States and other countries. The mass production of cotton drove modern imperialism and destroyed handicraft enterprises, especially in India, with incalculable costs. Modern arms increased the security of some states but they also devastated many others through warfare, revolutions, terrorism and the ubiquitous threat of landmines and other weapons.
The Role of Capitalism. For many observers, the real cause of these phenomena is not industrialism but capitalism. They are right in the sense that modern capitalism powered the industrial revolution and, no doubt, also drove modern imperialism and led to violent class conflicts and communist authoritarianism. Complex patterns of circular causation are involved, however, and we need to sort out some of the cause- effect relationships. Capitalism has existed for a long time as expressed in the globe- encircling activities of merchant-traders (Curtin, 1984) with their trading centers (cities) where they could control local governments and maintain their independence of neighboring empires and kingdoms.
However, it was not until modern states emerged following the collapse of feudalism in Europe (after the Peace of Westphalia, 1648) that it became possible for enterprising entrepreneurs in concert with ambitious kings to create, through mercantilism, the foundations of bourgeois power on a large scale. What made the industrial revolution possible was the political empowerment of capitalists and the creation of the modern bourgoisie. They could never have done it alone -- industrialism was born only after capitalists gained state support for their access to the means of large-scale production
Government-sponsored public policies permitted basic transformations that affected all traditional factors of production -- land, labor and capital -- without which merchants could never have become industrialists. It was a long-term fundamental transformation that we call the Industrial Revolution. Capitalists existed long before capitalism but they could never industrialize without state support, and states supported industrialization only after capitalists had gained power -- a very modern development (see Riggs, 1994c).#9 Moreover, although different kinds of state patronized and supported industrialization, I believe that parliamentarist governments are able to do so more effectively than any other form of government. This is true, I think, despite the apparent exception of the United States, an exception that can be explained. #10
Industrialism. All contemporary states must deal with the problems caused by industrialism, and many of them promote industrialization as a public policy, whether or not they support capitalism. Moreover, capitalism cannot survive without state support and regulation. Unregulated capitalism is clearly suicidal -- uncontrolled greed and the appetite for unlimited accumulation which capitalism promotes produce destructive monopolies, cutthroat competition and environmental devastation. In order to thrive, capitalism needs the support and controls which can be provided by a benevolent state.
The success of the industrial revolution was achieved not only by means of state support within its home territories, but also by the conquests which produced modern imperialism. The classic explanation of imperialism stresses the need for raw materials and markets which permitted industrialists to engage in large-scale production. Equally important as a motivator, however, was the desire for the products of ancient civilizations -- the silks, china, spices and perfumes -- that industrially produced cotton and many cheap manufactures buy. Imperialism was not caused by capitalists acting alone -- all its beneficiaries collaborated on the premise that they too would enjoy many benefits from the conquests that modern weapons made possible. Traditional elites, including aristocrats, intellectuals, professionals, politicians and bureaucrats who supported the industrial revolution also supported imperial conquests as a necessary, if nasty, way to secure both the direct benefits that industrialism could produce and the valued products that it could pay for.
Visits to a palace museum in almost any country will dramatize the greed of kings and the high costs of maintaining their palaces and pleasures. To live like a king was not just a careless phrase. To emulate their lifestyle became an ambition of land-owning aristocrats before capitalists could afford the same opulence. In fact, savings and austerity are perhaps more characteristic bourgeois virtues than conspicuous consumption. Controversies about capitalist accumulation, lavish spending, social inequality, and other evils legitimize a "blame game" which creates foes and friends, exploiters and exploited, enemies and allies.
Instead, I think, we need to see modernity as primarily a product of industrialism, the mass production and distribution of goods and services, using new technologies and sources of power, over ever widening domains. This process has its desirable (ortho-modern) aspects and its deplorable (para-modern) consequences, all inextricably intertwined with each other. All countries of the world today are heavily affected by industrialism and its products whether or not their own economies are industrialized. The process works best when governments play a constructive role in regulating and supporting the process so as to maximize its beneficial aspects and minimize its harmful ones.
Non-governmental organizations, including profit-oriented corporations, subject to markets and price mechanisms, also have a major role to play. The capacity of governments to reflect the general interest while also catering to special interests is a variable that seriously affects the outcomes to be expected. Here I want to focus some attention on the capacity of modern democracies to play a constructive role in managing the new forces generated by industrialism, with a focus on the differences between presidentialist and parliamentarist democracies as explanatory variables. Although all forms of government, non-modern as well as modern, including strong and weak authoritarianisms, also confront and deal with problems of industrialism in the contemporary world, I believe that, eventually, they cannot do as well as democracies, but I shall not develop the arguments for this proposition here. Rather, I shall focus on comparisons between the two major forms of modern democracy.
There is a reciprocal relationship such that industrialism has created products and scientific knowledge that are essential for the conduct of modern government. Scientific discoveries and new technologies that are both produced and used by governments are integral aspects of the process of industrialization. No doubt much of our knowledge has pre-industrial origins but the new empirical methods and paradigms of modern science (including the social sciences) has evolved as part of the industrial revolution. The scientific revolution which has both repudiated and confirmed much of the knowledge we have inherited from non- modern sources.
Our knowledge includes theories and information about what makes governance succeed or fail. One aspect of that knowledge should be an understanding of the way modern organizations work and what causes them to succeed or fail - - especially how presidentialist and parliamentarist democracies are able (or unable) to deal with the processes and products of industrialism. Unfortunately, much of our conventional wisdom about constitutional government holds that the presidentialist and parliamentarist forms are optional variants that, with trivial costs, can be substituted for each other. This has led us to focus more attention on such details as how political parties work, alternative electoral mechanisms, improved bureaucratic management, legislative processes and executive power, as though each of these components of a political system could be evaluated and manipulated without regard for the dynamics of the whole system of which it is a part.
Alternatively, we have assumed that differences of geography, history, culture, economy and ideology are more determinative of governmental performance than its basic structure. No doubt both institutional and non-institutional variables profoundly affect and are affected by governmental performance. However, I believe the capacity of any government to utilize the resources and cope with the problems generated by industrialism is profoundly affected by its fundamental constitutional design, especially by the way it affects the control and efficacy of public administration and the bureaucrats needed to manage public policies.
See linked pages:  COVICO || Presidentialism vs. Parliamentarism || Industrialism and Constitutionalism || Nationalism and Constitutionalism 
The original draft:  COPING, I || COPING, III || COPING, IV || COPING, V || ENDNOTES || REFERENCES 
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