By Fred W. Riggs
This paper was written for presentation to the Association for Law and Administration in Developing and Transitional Countries at a forum in Leiden, The Netherlands, 23 June 2000. ALADIN. It is still a draft so please do not quote or reproduce material from it without the author's permission. The text contains many hypertext links that can be opened on the Web, but the URLs are also given in endnotes so they can be found by anyone reading the text on paper. Some notes contain bibliographic information but more detailed references can be found on the linked Web sites. This reflects the essential character of this paper as an informal essay, originally posted on the Internet. It was not designed as a documented research report. See the abstract at (1)
1. Prismatic Formalism. 1
2. Sacred to Secular. 4
3. Sovereignty: from Kings to People. 4
4. The Role of Nationalism. 7
5. The Caste to Class Transformation. 8
1. Bureaucratic Design. 12
2. Political Management. 13
3. Representing the People. 15
4. Confederalism. 17
5. Legitimacy. 19
What works well in one place may not work at all in another. (2) All existing governments reflect some kind of (im)balance of forces in an existential situation. In third world countries there normally exists a precarious balance based on compromises and overlaps between traditional values and practices rooted in the past and new structures of power and legitimacy based on imported models -- I refer to such conflicted social systems as prismatic. (3) Essentially, this involves the co-existence of relatively undifferentiated social systems in which a core institution -- normally the family, at all levels, including those of kings or chiefs -- performs all the functions that are required for the maintenance of any social system.
By contrast, the newly superimposed structures based on Western modes involve a high degree of
differentiation between complementary institutions dedicated not only to governance, but also to
economic production and distribution, religion, sports, aesthetics, communication and other
functions. Within government, laws are prescribed on the basis of rational-legal criteria and
equalitarianism, and the structures of government, especially in the bureaucracy, are endlessly
proliferated with a high degree of functional specificity in public agencies.
1. Prismatic Formalism.
In the prismatic model, prevailing tensions
between traditional and modern values lead to a high degree of
formalism, by which I mean discrepancies (contradictions) between
what is formally and publicly recognized as correct or normative conduct,
and prevailing practices which remain informal and even secretive. The
essence of the prismatic condition is, therefore, a large gap between
formal and informal practices, leading to imbalances and tensions that
conduce to violence, widespread discontents, and structural
The more balanced the social forces that prevail in any society, the more difficult it is to make fundamental changes in the status quo. This applies to both traditional and modern societies: in the former, relatively undifferentiated social structures are highly stable and can last with minimal change over long periods of time. Similarly, a very modern society based on highly differentiated social structures is able to achieve balances among its component sub-systems that conduce to stability and resist fundamental transformations -- although the rate of technological and economic change inherent in modernism admittedly can generate destabilizing forces that produce significant changes in the socio-political structures of a society.
Between these two extremes, however, the situation in societies where
traditional and modern social structures coexist in conflict with each
other, prismatic conditions produce imbalances that may make significant
political transformations, for better or worse, quite feasible. The best
time for such basic changes to be made surely arose when new states gained
their independence from imperial rule. Unfortunately, however, various
historical factors prevented the adoption of systems of government that
would be truly viable. Instead, where non-violent agreements facilitated
the transition to independence, the new states tended to imitate the
constitutional design of their former imperial masters even though they
were not well designed to promote good management of their new national
societies. Where empires stoutly resisted the demands for independence,
resistance movements took the form of revolutionary parties in which the
Bolshevik model of centralized power became dominant, leading to
single-party authoritarianism. In a few countries, purely local political
movements generated significant constitutional changes, but all too often,
the decisive criteria were not rational choices among viable designs for
stability and development -- rather, they were determined by the
preferences of dominant elites or even autocratic rulers. They wanted
designs that, while superficially democratic out of deference to foreign
models, would in fact consolidate and perpetuate their own power.
Obstacles to Success
We often wish or hope that foreign examples and influences, as through technical assistance programs, might influence constitutional changes and promote reforms that will conduce to stable governance, better public administration, and peaceful development. (4) Unfortunately, two main forces hamper the success of these idealistic efforts. First, the existing structures of power set parameters that limit what can actually be accomplished. Full understanding of these parameters would, no doubt, increase the likelihood that agents of change could make feasible proposals that might work and also be accepted. Unfortunately, foreign change agents are likely to know a lot about what works in their home countries, but have little understanding of the conditions that limit what is feasible in a host country. They could overcome this limitation, however, if they were to team up with area specialists who have a deep knowledge of prevailing social forces and practices in the countries where they hope to promote change. A team approach is needed between those with in-depth knowledge of what prevails in a host country, and specialists who understand the dynamics of governance and the constitutional design principles that are most likely to make stable democracy possible.(5)
Increasingly our notions of what will work in a particular country are
undermined by the effects of globalization which have a dual effect --
many members of any nation are now dispersed outside their traditional
homelands and most states now also have a growing number of diasporan
residents who have immigrated from abroad. In order to think creatively
about the resulting problems, we need to learn to view all nations as
global in scale, overlapping each other in infinitely complex ways.
A second major obstacle to successful
political reform arises from our parochial understanding of the principles
of constitutional design. Most of us complacently suppose that the
existing practices of our own home countries are inherently desirable and
suitable for export to unstable countries open to political and
administrative change. I suspect the most complacent advisers are those
who come from the United States where a long-established Constitution,
perhaps the oldest to be found in a modern democracy -- was Iceland
earlier? -- is idealized by most Americans as the foundation for good
government. However, similar tendencies are visible in the UK where the
Westminster model is held to be widely relevant for new states, and also
France where the widespread admiration of French culture extends to its
system of government also. I know less about the attitude of Dutch
lawyers and practitioners about the relevance of the system of governance
found in the Netherlands for export to other countries, but I suspect that
it is not too different from what we find in the U.S., U.K., and France.
No doubt members of ALADIN know the facts, and I defer to your judgment.
My own belief is that we need to develop a theory of what laws and practices are most likely to
prove successful in developing countries where instability and dissatisfaction with the status quo
are most likely to generate political movements powerful enough to support fundamental
constitutional reforms. I shall offer a few suggestions about such a theory below. I do not
presume to have any concrete solutions for a problem that will surely require quite different
answers in countries where the parameters of feasible change necessarily vary between wide
extremes. However, I do think I can offer some guidelines for thinking about what answers
would be appropriate, and I'll turn to them now.
Trajectories of Change. In order to offer any meaningful proposals for constitutional reform and the design of new systems of government, one surely needs to keep in mind the implications of powerful forces of change that have swept throughout the world as a result of modernity. I have in mind above all the industrial revolution which has radically changed the existing situation and its social forces in virtually every country of the world. The more familiar part of this revolution involves the production and distribution of manufactured goods -- perhaps best symbolized by the automobile, and the ubiquity of gasolene and our dependence on the world's oil reserves. The latest phase of this revolution involves the "information revolution," best symbolized by the INTERNET. It now enables individuals in virtually every country of the world to create networks for themselves which empower them to communicate globally, both to promote their own interests and to receive information and goods from anywhere. No doubt there are still a few isolated pockets without INTERNET access, but they are rapidly dwindling. The knowledge of what works and what does not work in governance is, therefore, spreading rapidly -- a key aspect of globalization that we need to consider here. In an earlier work, I speculated on the triad of modernity -- including not only industrialization, but also the rise of democracy and nationalism. (7)
What, we may ask, are the most important political and social changes that industrialization has brought to the world? Let me mention four examples that have profoundly influenced the whole world -- and deeply influenced governance, including both the possibility and need for fundamental changes.
2. Sacred to Secular.
No doubt traditional beliefs in the primacy of super-natural forces shaping our lives and controlling our existence were undermined long before the Industrial Revolution and helped pave the way for it. However, for the most part, pre-industrial peoples everywhere in the world accepted beliefs that explained their fate, their successes and failures, happiness and unhappiness, by reference to sacred entities or powers that humans could not hope to control -- although through prayers and sacrifices they often thought they could influence these forces and thereby improve their lot in life.
By contrast, the secular belief system assumes that, for better or
worse, humans control their own destinies -- we believe that rational
analysis rather than spiritual revelations holds the key to understanding
and dealing with the human condition.. This is most apparent in the
economic sphere where, because of industrialization, we can now produce,
distribute and consume goods under human control -- even in agriculture,
the classic domain where the power of sacred forces was most believable,
new technologies lead us to believe that we can re-shape nature so as to
assure greater productivity. Here, however, I want to stress the impact
of the shift from sacred to secular beliefs in the sphere of governance.
3. Sovereignty: from Kings to People.
Small-scale primitive societies were often equalitarian and individualistic, but more complex traditional societies adopted hierarchic principles of organization centering in a ruler thought to exercise supernatural powers, typically with the help of a priestly caste qualified to perform rituals and sacrifices that empowered their rulers. In these societies authority extended from the top down, and the same principles tended to prevail in the families, clans, guilds and other social formations. To some degree choices were possible between the normal hierarchic and the exceptional polyarchic forms of social and political organization -- but the two could not be linked in a single complex organization.
In modern societies traditional forms of social organization prevail at the micro-level in families, clubs, and gangs, but more visible and significantly, a new form of complex social structure has evolved in which polyarchic and hierarchic components are merged. Indeed, I would say that such a mingling of bottom-up and top-down forms of authority are typical of all modern organizations, both public and private. As I see it, this is what makes them modern . (8) A core problem in all modern organizations revolves around the delicate problem of how best to link its polyarchic and hierarchic components, a subject I shall have more to say about below.
Transition to Modernity. Here, however, let me point out that underlying the shift to modernity is a fundamental sacred/secular shift in cultural beliefs and expectations that replaces traditional faith in the divine sovereignty of kings, emperors and other types of monarchic rule, with the acceptance of the rationalistic (secular) notion that all humans have the right to decide their own fate and to select their representatives to organize self-government. As a result, the polyarchic structures of representative government involving elections and elected assemblies, councils or boards are now ubiquitous and sit in parallel with ancient hierarchic forms of organization as seen in the staffs or bureaucracies designed to manage the implementation of policies mandated by these assemblies.
Within our contemporary world system, a system of interactive sovereign states has evolved in each of which this complex pattern of modern organization prevails -- or, we think, should prevail. Of course, within and between states there are many other organizations viewed as non-sovereign -- private corporations and associations of all kinds, and they increasingly play decisive roles that set parameters for the functioning of states. Nevertheless, the sovereignty of states, viewed as instruments for national self-government, has become the dominant political metaphor of our times. The design of constitutional systems for these states has become the foundation for systems of self-government.
Unfortunately, but understandably, during the transition from sacred to secular rule, we experience transition periods marked by uncertainty, violence, anarchy, and confusion. States may have international recognition yet be unable to govern effectively. They may give lip-service to democratic and constitutional norms, while practicing authoritarianism and arbitrary rule. In many states the old principles are lost as traditional monarchies collapse or lose power, while new forms of governance rooted in popular sovereignty fail -- there is no easy way to create new institutions for self-government based on widespread acceptance of free elections and representative institutions. Even in the most well established democracies, prevailing practices largely fail to reflect the political concerns of widely dispersed ethnic minorities. However, basic transformations that will enable such communities to secure political representation can be imagined and may even become possible. (9)
Adaptive Monarchies. In some countries monarchic institutions have been remarkably resilient and they have adapted themselves to the new forces of modernity by accepting the role of constitutional monarchs, as here in the Netherlands. Moreover, I am persuaded that parliamentary democracies are more likely to be successful and survive when they have hereditary monarchs as heads of state. The process of electing a president in parliamentary republics raises hard questions that are not easy to solve and automatic succession by members of a royal family avoids these issues. I believe the mystique of royalty also sustains a sense of national identity and governmental legitimacy that cannot easily be replaced by elected heads of state.
When one considers the history of Europe's parliamentary democracies, one may be struck by the fact that the republics have suffered more than the monarchies. Compare the history of France, Germany, Finland and Austria with that of the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and even Spain after the post-Franco restoration of constitutional monarchy. Similar conclusions may be reached by looking at non-Western states. Japan today has a stable constitutional monarchy, after a troubled transition under a restoration of imperial power combined with a managed parliamentary system that ended in the frightfulness of Japan's imperial conquests. Thailand, even under military rule, experienced substantial growth and de facto stability because, in part at least, its kings sustained their legitimacy and continuity, giving the average Thai citizen a sense of confidence in government.
Absolute monarchy also survives in a few countries where religious authority and/or vast natural resources sustain an obsolete form of government. Consider the case of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with their oil reserves, and Bhutan with its still vital and substantially isolated Buddhist traditions. Monarchy seems to be well entrenched in Tonga. In Brunei a revived monarchy rules with a combination of natural wealth and religious orthodoxy. In Iran, the monarchy was overthrown only to be replaced by a type of sacred authoritarianism, increasingly moderated by growing popular elections. In Jordan the mystique of monarchic rule was strengthened for many years by the astute leadership of King Hussein; and Morocco also benefits from the relatively enlightened leadership of a dynastic ruler. Nepal offers a more mixed and controversial case -- the restored monarchy has competed with popular forces in an up-and-down transition that appears, finally, to have generated a relatively stable constitutional monarchy. The Greek effort to restore a monarchy after its republican period proved disastrous.
In due course, however, we may expect all the surviving monarchic absolutisms to evolve into some kind of representative government. Ideally, it will be by nonviolent means as kings delegate authority to popularly elected assemblies; but if this does not happen, we may expect growing popular movements to triumph after more or less violent revolutionary upheavals. In general, after monarchies have been overthrown, it is virtually impossible to re-establish them. However, where surviving monarchs have gracefully surrendered power to parliamentary institutions, they have been able to retain their thrones and preside over stable democracies. Those that persist in their efforts to rule may retain power for a while, but I expect all of them to succumb in time, either by surrendering power to representative institutions, or extinction as a result of popular uprisings.
Many kingships were, of course, extinguished as a result of imperial conquests. Foreign rule undermined the legitimacy of governance in conquered countries -- even where, under indirect rule, native kingships were permitted to survive. They tended to lose their legitimacy as their subjects came to believe that, under imperial domination, they had become puppets for foreign rulers rather than authentic vehicles for supernatural forces. Under direct rule by foreigners, conquered peoples increasingly lost confidence in their rulers and were attracted by revolutionary leaders who mobilized support for independence movements and spread the ideals of democracy as they had typically evolved within the homelands of the imperial powers. Meanwhile, the imperial powers destroyed themselves in the great wars of the 20th century, leaving them little alternative but to abandon their possessions during the post-War years. In this context, a highly prismatic (self-contradictory) imbalance of forces evolved in the new states that emerged on the ruins of the imperial systems. Their traditional institutions had largely collapsed, although their battered remnants can still be found. The newly imagined institutions of popular democracy, sometimes offered as gifts by the collapsing empires, were suddenly erected with little or no chance of success.
Bureaucratic Polities. What did survive, however, were the bureaucratic institutions of imperial control. In many countries these had already been indigenized enough so that native bureaucrats were able to assume the reins of power as soon as the foreigner withdrew -- in some cases, imperial officials, military and civil, stayed on as technical advisers to the new regimes to help them make the transition to independence. Sometimes third country advisers, inspired by worthy ideals, also sent technical advisers to help in this process. Predictably, however, the new local office-holders were accustomed to ruling authoritatively and had no experience or tradition of serving elected politicians. During the chaotic post-independence periods when inexperienced political rivals sought to create the new institutions of democratic governance, it was natural for the bureaucrats -- both the military officials and the civil servants -- to respond with impatience and anger. In many cases, in a spirit of desperation and patriotism, they felt they had to intervene to put things right. A rash of insurrections led by miliary officers created short-lived authoritarian regimes dominated by cabals of public officials. Because the initiative and leading role in these regimes was typically taken by military officers, they came to be seen as military regimes. However, I believe it is more accurate to think of them as bureaucratic polities in which appointed officials (both civil and military) had come to power. Following my field work in Thailand where I observed the first classic example of this phenomenon, I tracked similar processes elswhere and reported them in an essay published in 1993.(10)
For better or worse, authoritarian regimes lack legitimacy and have to
rule by force, using threats and rewards to impose order and attract
supporters. Without legitimacy, however, authoritarian rule is always
precarious and liable to disruption, often because of internal splits
with the ruling group followed by counter-coups. Eventually, I believe,
most bureaucratic rulers see that they need to legitimize their regimes if
they are to stay in power, and so they promise to create (or re-create)
democratic constitutional governance. This does not mean, however, that
they intend to surrender power -- more normally, they expect that they can
manipulate the new institutions so as to stay in power. Indeed, they are
likely to support those designs for constitutional government that seem
most likely to enable them to retain the right to rule. If foreign
advisers are invited to come to help them design these institutions, they
are likely to support those whose advice is most attractive to them,
judged by their hopes for staying in power. In an earlier text I have
discussed the links between bureaucratic power and constitutional design.
4. The Role of Nationalism.
The most powerful myth or ideology available to support the transition from royal to popular sovereignty involves belief in the reality and identity of nations. It is quite hard to sustain a sense of patriotism and popular sovereignty when the people living within the boundaries of a state are culturally heterogeneous and divided by differences of language, religion, class, location, and economic interest. One of the most powerful motivators for collective action on behalf of shared goals involves the notion of a nation. When any group of people see themselves as bearers of a shared destiny, descendants of common ancestors, or akin to each other as members of a single cultural community, they find it easier to resolve conflicts non-violently, to share resources, and to accept the authority of governments in which they share power. Any community whose members identify with each other in this way may be thought of as a nation.
What distinguishes modern from traditional nations is the sense that they are or should be self-governing. The generic concept of a nation is ancient, but under the rule of hereditary monarchs, traditional regimes were typically multi-cultural (and hence multi-national). They could co-exist in relative peace because all subjects could see themselves as beneficiaries of the peace and prosperity assured to them by their rulers because of their sacred powers and supernatural mandates. By contrast, modern nations are sustained by beliefs that attribute success to self-sustained efforts, a secular rationale that attributes welfare, peace and meaning to one's personal efforts, including the ability of nations to govern themselves.
Moreover, inverting this belief, we now say that a state's right to rule hinges on the identity of its citizens as members of a nation. The right to rule is attributed not so much to the aggregation of interests by individuals as to the self-governing capabilities of a nation. Increasingly, we tend to attribute sovereignty not so much to the aggregate of individual citizens as to the mysterious powers of a collectivity called a nation. This belief in nationalism as the foundation for legitimizing states, and the parallel aspiration of nations as essentialized entities to govern themselves, converge in producing one of the most powerful forces in creating and sustaining contemporary states.
States accepting this belief strive to nationalize all their inhabitants as part of a process of state-building. A transparent example of this process can be seen in the Americanization of immigrants to the United States -- during the past century or two, a congeries of migrants from all over the world, but especially from many European countries, have been socialized to see themselves as Americans. The most successful parallel effort in Europe was no doubt that of the French state in its efforts, during the last two centuries, to convert all of its inhabitants from various kinds of cultural minorities into patriotic French citizens. The most brutal example of this process can be found in Germany under National Socialism where non-Aryan residents were not assimilated but, instead, were marked for extermination. Whether in its liberal or totalitarian forms, this kind of process may be referred to as state nationalism -- the effort of a state to homogenize its population as members of a single nation.(12)
Resistance to control by a state also leads to a revolutionary form of ethnic nationalism in which members of a marginalized ethnic community identify themselves as a nation and claim the right to self-government -- usually as an independent state but, alternatively, as an autonomous region within an existing state. Ethnic nationalism has now become a wide-spread and disruptive influence around the world, leading to innumerable protest and independence movements.
Both ethnic and state nationalism pose huge challenges for anyone
interested in the creation or maintenance of viable systems of government.
On the side of existing states, the challenge is how to accommodate the
demands for self-government by minority communities. On the other side,
ethnonations that achieve independence or autonomy confront the problem of
how to organize themselves politically to make self-government a success.
In the third section of this paper, I will talk about these problems, but
before taking them up, let me add a note about the underlying significance
5. The Caste to Class Transformation.
On its face, belief in the capacity of nations to govern themselves and to legitimize states seems quite irrational. Yet we have become so accustomed to nationalist ideals and movements that we tend to take them for granted. Nevertheless, throughout human history, culturally distinct peoples have coexisted and interacted without producing politically contested ideals of self-government and independent statehood. The very fuzzy term, nation state, is now widely used to refer to the strictly modern notion that states are (or should be) nations, and that every nation is a state (or is entitled to be a state.) In fact, of course, there are no truly national states (i.e., mono-national states) and many nations lack states -- indeed, we may define ethnic nations as nations that aspire to become states.
In order to understand the power of nationalism as an ideal goal, I think we need to see it in the context of a global transformation from caste to class orientations, a transformation that has ancient origins, but started to gather speed during the industrial revolutions, and has now become a global phenomenon accelerated by the information revolution. Our ability to understand this transformation is blinkered by two terminological fixations.
As for caste, we tend to equate it with the most extreme form of caste system as found in India where for centuries caste distinctions have been ritualized and so deeply institutionalized that they attracted world-wide attention. In fact, however, the basic principles of casteism which include an acceptance of social inequality as natural and inevitable with sacred origins, is ubiquitous in all traditional civilizations. It is sustained by a variety of social practices, most importantly by the inheritance of occupations and endogamy. This means that normally all sons follow their father's example and re-create the same practices, while all daughters marry men in their own community, typically in response to guidance from their parents and marriage brokers. Family occupations become organized as guilds which often extend themselves over vast distances. Thus trading and crafts have often been extensively organized, cutting across the parochial boundaries of traditional regimes and creating ethnic contrasts as a widely accepted and natural phenomenon. In order to distinguish between the elaborated form of casteism found in India and the ordinary types of casteism found in other societies, it is useful to capitalize Caste to refer to the former, and to use the lowercase form, caste, for the latter.
A contrasting terminological accident has made us think of class as the name of a ubiquitous social system to be found in all civilizations. In fact, however, I think class relations became widespread in Europe only in modern times, accompanying the Industrial Revolution, and they have spread rapidly throughout the world as a result of industrial imperialism and, now, of globalization and the information revolution. Although class relations can no doubt be found in some pre-modern civilizations, including ancient China and Imperial Rome, they were always secondary in importance to dominant caste-like social relations. The salient characteristics of a class system involve social mobility as sons choose new occupations in preference to those of their fathers, and as daughters marry exogamously, insisting on their right to choose their own mates, preferably because they have fallen in love.
In many respects, caste and class orientations are incompatible. The former presupposes the sacred grounds of legitimacy discussed above, and the latter hinges on secularism and rationality. Acceptance of fate prevails under caste-like premises whereas rational choice becomes the norm in class-based societies. (13)
Moreover, they generate severe clashes when class replaces caste -- I doubt if the reverse process ever occurs. I believe both homogeneous caste-based and class-oriented social systems can be stable and relatively free of violence, but the transformation of caste into class based social structures is destabilizing, leading to heterogeneity and profound conflicts, the tensions which I think of as pismatic. Beneficiaries of casteism will surely feel profoundly threatened and support neo-traditional movements designed to safeguard their privileges and restore lost values. By contrast, those who think the shift to a class-based social order will improve their opportunities and prospects in life are likely to press for change. To some degree such changes seem to reflect generational differences: young people are likely to move toward class-based norms while their elders defend inherited norms. However, I think a more important form of this tension can be found in the phenomenon of nationalism. If true, then the rise of modern nationalism can be explained by reference to the shift from caste-like to class-based social structures.
At first, this connection may seem improbable, but on further reflection, its logic becomes clear. Consider that the process of shifting from royal to popular sovereignty entails a corresponding rejection of hierarchic norms (as found in casteism) in favor of equalitarian norms (as seen in class systems). It is important to note that de facto inequality is not a variable -- it exists in both caste and class systems, but the justification for inequality shifts from sacred to rational grounds. In the process, however, social distinctions arise between those among whom the principles of equalitarianism are accepted and those for whom they are rejected. Broadly speaking, in any state it is possible to view all nationals (i.e., members of the dominant nation) as equals for whom it is important to provide equal opportunities (for education, health, employment, residence, and suffrage) whereas one may deny these opportunities to others -- the non-nationals.
Among the former class-like relations prevail, whereas among the latter, caste-based distinctions persist. However, as belief in sacred forces declines, it no longer seems reasonable to attribute the low status and opportunities of marginalized peoples to mere fate or other supernatural powers -- instead, one must hunt for apparently rational criteria to support discrimination. One such ground is genetic Scientific discoveries about the evolution of species gave credence to the proposition that racial differences among humans also have explanatory power: if some races are dominant, this could be because of genetic traits, and those that are marginalized must fail because of their inherited traits. Modern scientific discoveries have, I believe, shown the fallacy of these beliefs, but they persist as a widely held rationalization for perpetuating the marginalization of peoples who are not accepted by a dominant nation as members. My main point is that, for whatever reason, dominant groups in modern states have been willing to grant equal rights and privileges to members of their own communities, classifying them as fellow nationals, while rejecting them for others whom they condemn to marginalization because of criteria that prevent them from assimilating to the dominant nation.
Increasingly, of course, the marginalization of non-members of any national community leads to the counter-formation of ethnic nations. Their leaders take advantage of discrimination to find support for counter claims -- if they can succeed, they will become the leaders of a new state created to achieve the national goals of a suppressed people. If this analysis is valid, then it surely follows that, as globalization and the information revolution accelerate the spread of class-based values around the world, we will see a growing number of ethnonational movements among marginalized (non-national) communities demanding independence -- or at least self-government in autonomous regions.
Of course, not every ethnic community can realistically expect to gain recognition as a viable state. Many are so small numerically or so widely dispersed geographically that they cannot really hope for success as ethnic nations. However, they can still express their feelings of resentment and demand that, at least in democracies, their human rights should be respected. No doubt one option is to demand and accept integration in the dominant community, becoming fully assimilated members of a state nation. Alternatively, under the heading of ethnic diversity, they can demand special privileges for their community and compensation for the acts of discrimination that have led to their marginalization.
If there is any merit in these reflections, then we may conclude that they have profound implications for the design of constitutional democracies. It is not enough just to assume that all citizens, as individuals, will vote in a rational manner, to select their representatives in a politically responsive form of governance. Instead, we need, I think, to consider how the transition to democracy can be achieve so that marginalized communities can be assured the civil and human rights that will motivate them to join the dominant nation and to accept political decisions made by government that truly represents them. Moreover, and this is also important, do we not need to recognize the existence as a fait accompli of ethnic nations whose demands for autonomy cannot be satisfied within the framework of established constitutional systems. Do we not need to recognize, more formally, the need for more complex patterns of democratic governance in which autonomous regions gain certain rights of self-government under the protection of host states within whose boundaries they exist? I will take up both of these issues in the remaining section of this paper.
If it were possible to design a new constitutional system with a free hand, what features would it have in order to optimize the possibility that a new democracy could govern effectively, satisfy the aspirations of ethnically diverse populations, and also live in harmony with other states as part of an increasingly interdependent global socio-political system? We need to consider the rational implications of various possibilities and also take into account the experience of existing regimes on a comparative basis, evaluating the performance of their constitutional system in relation to their successes and failures. No doubt, in the real world one never has such a free hand, and all proposals for constitutional design will be seriously constrained by existing practices and power structures. Good ideas need to be rejected, for example, if they are supported for bad reasons, factors that will hamper their success and discredit even the most ideal type of governmental system. However, on the premise that we might be starting with a clean slate, let me talk a bit about some of the variables I would want to consider. These include:
No doubt there are other important criteria that could be added -- and
I suspect some of them could be subsumed under those listed above. For
example, handling relations with other states in a way that assures the
peace and prosperity of a state could be viewed as a separate criterion.
However, here I would subsume this theme under #I.3
above. One might stress such matters as economic policy -- including both
the management of state enterprises and the regulation and encouragement
of private enterprise -- the maintenance of law and order, the provision
of health services, the ability to delegate authority to regional and
local authorities, as independently important criteria. However, I think
we could subsume them under items #I.1 and #I.2 Moreover, any further increase in the number of
basic criteria would extend this paper beyond reasonable limits. Let me,
therefore, take up the questions in order.
1. Bureaucratic Design.
The American constitution fails to mention the bureaucracy -- its founding fathers took it for granted that elected officials would appoint qualified people, including friends and relatives, who would be capable of implementing the rather simple common sense policies they thought the government would be adopting. It did not occur to them that in the near future the nature of these problems would be so magnified by the industrial revolution that these assumptions would soon erode. In fact, the expansion of the scope of government that follows was not only monumental in the United States, but parallel increases in the complexity and scale of public administration have taken place everywhere in the world. A crucial challenge confronting every government, therefore, is how to design and manage a complex and professionalized bureaucracy capable of dealing effectively with a mass of public issues that cannot be managed fairly and effectively by private initiative.
Ironically, the basic methodology needed to appoint and manage a competent career bureaucracy is quite old -- I believe the most exemplary system was that created in ancient China two thousand years ago. It was based on highly competitive public examinations open to all respectable subjects -- certain categories, including merchants, soldiers and prostitutes, were excluded. Moreover, the exams were based on classical learning rather than modern technical expertise. However, with suitable revisions that support the recruitment of specialists, the basic Chinese mandarinate system anchored in highly educated career generalists remains to this day the most widely accepted mode of public management in all industrialized democracies except the United States.
In general, presidentialist regimes cannot establish a modern mandarinate because the separation-of-powers principle weakens the capacity of a regime to maintain effective control over a bureaucracy that is inherently powerful because of its mandarin design. A basic feature of this weakness can be found in the inability of Congress to discharge a president for reasons directly related to public policies. This seriously hampers the capacity of these regimes to control and motivate their bureaucracies. Moreover, when the frustrated legislative majority in a divided government tries to impeach a president for personal failings, the effort typically fails and leads only to demoralization, especially within the bureaucracy. Consequently, in regimes following presidentialist (separation-of-powers) constitutional principles, traditional practices prevail according to which patronage appointments are linked with the right of incumbents to retain office despite changes in the Government. The persistence of retainers in public office handicaps these regimes in their efforts to modernize and, especially, to industrialize.
A notable exception to this generalization can be found in the United States where two important developments have permitted industrialization to occur without establishing a generalist career bureaucracy based on mandarin principles. The first of these two developments involved regular rotation in office, a principle that undermined the bureaucatic power of retainers. The extreme cost of rotation, however, led to a reform movement that institutionalized functionaries (career specialists) in most public offices while permitting the top echelon generalists to be appointed on an in-and-out patronage basis. (14)
Empirical evidence for this view can be found in the history of presidentialist regimes throughout Latin America, and in some countries of Asia, Africa, and the post-Communist world. They have not been able to establish the rules that enabled the U.S. government to succeed -- mainly, I think, because retainers in the public administration were strong enough to resist such reforms successfully. As a result, the bureaucracies in these countries remain so poorly coordinated and technically unqualified that public administration is severely handicapped, the public welfare suffers, and industrialization is held back. As of now, almost all Latin American regimes have restored democratic processes, but it remains to be seen whether they can endure.
Most modern regimes, by contrast, have adopted parliamentary principles of organization that enable an elected assembly to hold the head of government and the ministers in charge of public administration accountable -- they can be discharged at any time by a vote of no-confidence. The resulting unity of command permits parliamentary governments, when conditions are favorable, to create and manage public bureaucracies in a coordinated way, and to rely heavily on career generalists (mandarins). These regimes have, by and large, survived challenges to their survival.
Because bureaucrats are, by definition, appointed officials, we cannot
fairly hold them accountable for their administrative failures when
constitutional weaknesses severely hamper top-level political leaders,
both when managing the bureaucracy and when making policy decisions about
how to select and control public officials. Precisely because of the
growing complexity and interdependence of our post-industrial
information-oriented world, it has become increasingly essential if
governments are to govern well that they learn how to appoint and manage
highly qualified and well motivated career officials. I view this as a
constitutional matter of the greatest importance, even though it is often
neglected in the work of constitution makers.
2. Political Management.
If the effectiveness of modern bureaucracies hinges on the capability of political leaders to appoint and manage well qualified career officials, as I believe, then we need to ask how modern constitutional regimes organize horizontal accountability among the leading organs of democratic self-government: see: Further Thoughts on Horizontal Accountability O'Donnell (15) Guillermo O'Donnell has introduced this term to focus attention on the ways that counterbalancing organs of governance can monitor and affect each other's performance. Carried to extreme, however, checks and balances can neutralize the capacity of a regime to govern effectively -- a recent example can be seen in the failed efforts of a Congressional majority to impeach the American president, as I noted in Impeachment vs. Harassment. (16)
The countervailing principle of unity of command is often hailed as a fundamental principle of good public administration -- but it is also essential on the organization of political power. To the degree that reigning monarchs were, indeed, effective rulers, the unity of command in public administration was virtually assured, and governments could be structured hierarchically from top to bottom. However, in modern democracies, the transfer of sovereignty from rulers to the people gives primacy to the countervailing principle of polyarchy. This principle does not destroy or invalidate the hierarchic principles which necessarily remain entrenched in public bureaucracies. However, it does create the need to create a flexible and workable balance between the hierarchic and polyarchic principles of political organization. A crucial institutional fulcrum is lodged in the role of a head of state and cabinet capable of coordinating and managing the bureaucracy while remaining responsible to the public will as reflected in representative elective organs of government.
All modern large-scale organizations, private as well as public, confront the need to achieve a balance between their polyarchic and hierarchic institutional structures. The core principles of horizontal accountability comes to a focus in this nexus. In business corporations, the CEO is accountable to a board of directors elected by shareholders and may be discharged for any reason when they lose confidence in the firm's management. Non-profit associations are governed in the same way: an elected board and president accountable to the general membership has the power to name and discharge a general secretary who takes responsibility for managing the organizations work. Many cities also operate on this principle, naming a manager accountable to an elected commission to administer its many public functions. All of the industrialized democracies except the United States also follow this organizational principle -- we call it parliamentary. The prime minister and cabinet are appointed by the Parliament which retains the right to discharge them.
Paradoxically the only industrialized power that does not follow this organizational principle is the United States. For a variety of reasons that I cannot discuss here, the U.S. has been remarkably successful both in sustaining industrialization and becoming a super-power. (17) Internally, this has been possible in part because of the virtual deification of the Constitution. It met its most serious challenge when it survived the Civil War of the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, it has more or less successfully coped with severe internal and external crises that, in other countries, would easily have caused a regime collapse. In fact, in the score of countries that have adopted the separation-of-powers model, more or less frequent catastrophic breakdowns have occurred, normally leading to the usurpation of power by a military junta, but sometimes to presidential authoritarianism or the rise of a charismatic dictator able to manipulate the electoral system to legitimize autocratic rule. The implications of these facts are never considered by the American public because they remain fixated on the merits of their archaic constitutional system, and confident that, despite its limitations, they will be able to maintain their republican institutions in the face of all challenges -- put differently, they fear that any fundamental challenge to the regime will lead to unbearable turmoil and an intolerable breakdown of public authority. They persist, therefore, in a determination to ignore the defects of their constitutional system while continuing the struggle, somehow, to make it work and survive.
Externally, the American example has provided justification for many would-be dictators to rationalize their efforts to master unruly states caught in the transition problems outlined above. A plausible argument can easily be made that the apparent success of the United States as a highly industrialized super-power demonstrates that their constitutional system can work -- indeed, that it may be a good example to follow. Two tendentious reasons reinforce this opinion. The first is external, and hinges on the uncritical tendency of American advisers to propagate this constitutional system as an appropriate model for coping with the problems posed by modernity. The second consideration is internal -- it derives from the ambitions of charismatic leaders who see the presidentialist model as a useful expedient to legitimize their own desire to achieve unchallenged political leadership.
There is a wide range of variation among parliamentary systems of
governance, and some work better than others -- some of them are also
recipes for failure. What we need to discover, I think, is the design of
parliamentarism that is most likely to lead to success. The focal point
of any constitutional system involves a Janus relation between its
hierarchic capacity to manage a state's bureaucracy as agent of public
administration; and its polyarchic design as a means of mobilizing and
representing a people's interests. Parliamentarism, with its ability to
hold the executive power accountable, clearly seems more likely to succeed
in handling the hierarchic dimension and I shall say no more about that.
However, we need to think more about the polyarchic aspect.
3. Representing the People.
As noted above, the crucial divide between traditional and modern systems of governance involves the shift in sovereignty from sacred to secular, from supernatural legitimation to authority based on the sovereignty of individuals. However, the exercise of personal sovereignty hinges on structural parameters that always impose constraints on the options available to citizens. Historically constructed institutions set boundaries within which choices are possible, but beyond those boundaries, they are captives.
Some of these parameters are so obvious we scarcely need talk about
them. The first I think of involves the geographic boundaries created by
states -- all of us live in today's world under the jurisdiction of
internationally recognized regimes. It might make more sense if all of
North America were one state rather than two, and others think the United
States artificially links regions that would do better as separate states.
Citizens of Belgium need to deal with that state's union between two parts
which, had historical events been different, might now have been
partitioned between France and the Netherlands. Even more artificially,
the citizens of third world states live inside the borders of regimes
created by imperial conquest rather than self-determination. Even the
recent struggle for independence in East Timor can be viewed as an
artifact of Portuguese and Dutch conquests, in the wake of the collapse of
these empires. Sometimes plebiscites can be used to redraw boundaries --
as in Schleswig, for example -- but the citizens of the collapsed Yugoslav
empire, especially in Bosnia and Kosovo, were not given such an
opportunity with tragic consequences for the people involved.
Electoral Districts. Another kind of boundary problem occurs within existing states and it also imposes sharp limits on the choices citizens can make. I am thinking of electoral districts which more or less artificially compel those living within a bounded area to select one or more representatives to serve their interests, even though these interests may cut across each other in many different ways. The most constraining limitations are imposed on residents of single-member districts -- only one person is authorized to speak for all of them. When their interests are mutually contradictory, one or more minority within each district can be left without any effective representation. When several representatives are elected from each district, it is clearly possible to increase the number of minority interests that can be given proportional representation in governing assemblies. Of course, other variables, such as the rules for counting votes, and the options offered to voters, all affect the outcomes, but I shall not try to discuss them here.
Instead, let me first point out that single-member districts can limit voters' choices in parliamentary as well as presidentialist systems, but with quite different results. The most familiar form, as seen in the United Kingdom, is called the Westminster model -- and it has been used in various states formed by the collapse of the British empire, especially in its Commonwealth countries. On the European continent, however, as in new states influenced by their former empires -- especially the French, but also the Dutch -- multi-member districts and PR systems prevail. However, when carried to extremes, as in Israel, where the whole country is treated as a single district for Knesset elections, the proliferation of parties hampers effective governance. The extreme proliferation of parties that results -- Italy provides a similar example -- makes it difficult for a ruling coalition to stay in power and to govern coherently. The result damages integration in the management of bureaucracy and the integration of public policies.
This argument against majoritarian government based on single-member districts -- and the two-party system which normally results -- has been well made by Arend Lijphart who, as you know, thinks in Dutch though he lives now in America. His argument for consociationalism is based on the Netherlands example and stresses not only the virtues of PR but the need for consensus as a voting practice in legislative assemblies, providing additional protection for minorities who would, otherwise, be politically marginalized.
I agree with Lijphart's main conclusion, but would subject it to
reservations based on consideration of administrative implications --
governments need to be able to govern and this involves their hierarchic
aspects, their ability to provide coherent control and integration of
public policy and bureaucratic performance. First, PR always hampers
policy integration simply because more interests need to be accommodated.
However, it is far more damaging in presidentialist than in parliamentary
regimes, as experience in quite a few Latin American countries
demonstrates. Quite a few have adopted PR systems, and all have
experienced catastrophic regime collapses. I believe the reason is that
the executive head, the president, is still only one person and
congressional minorities are not directly represented in presidential
cabinets. As a result the inescapable clash between the branches is
aggravated, and minority representatives are angered by frustrations that
turn them into strong regime opponents. By contrast, in parliamentary
regimes, minorities can sometimes be included in cabinets and become part
of a governing coalition. Thus in parliamentary systems it is possible to
use PR to achieve meaningful minority representation in governance without
seriously damaging the capacity of regimes to govern effectively. I fear
that is not possible in separation-of-powers systems where one person, the
president, is expected both to rule and to be responsive, as head of
state, to the conflicting concerns of all citizens. The fact is that, as
concurrently head of government, presidents must make tough decisions that
are certain to antagonize important constituencies.
Opposition Rights. The discussion of electoral systems presupposes a context in which it is possible for opposition parties to organize and for their candidates to win power. We all know that in single-party dictatorships, everyone may vote and yet those who are seated in elected assemblies are only the puppets of that party's leaders. Under military dictatorships, it may even be possible for free elections to be held, but a managed parliament can invalidate the results by making sure that only policies sponsored by the regime are even endorsed. In short, although we assume that polyarchy is a natural way to create vertical accountability, subjecting rulers to the will of the people, in fact the creation of viable systems of popular representation is a difficult challenge.
Many variables need to be considered to explain what makes these systems work, but let me focus on just one. The core problem, I believe, involves the right of opposition, meaningful opposition to the policies and people sponsored by a ruling elite. Some might say this is a matter involving the rule of law, having judicial institutions that protect dissenters. However, I believe judges are vulnerable to pressures that lead them to accept orders from those in power unless there are institutional safeguards to protect the independence of the judiciary. Private property and capitalism may also be seen as a safeguard for polyarchic freedoms, but such examples as contemporary China show that it is possible for a dominant party to tolerate, even encourage, private capitalism without giving opponents of the regime the right to organize and vote.
We need, I think, to look more deeply into the preconditions which make open elections possible and meaningful. I have no convincing answer, but let me just speculate that the most decisive bulwark for genuine polyarchy is a strong elected assembly that understands the necessary conditions for its own effectiveness. Among these conditions, the most important is the protection of the right of opponents of the regime in power to organize and elect members
Any assembly dominated by a single party loses power to that party's
leadership. Thus, if members of an assembly want to be able to exercise
significant influence, they need to have an opposition strong enough to
make their choices decisive. No other institution in government has such
a built-in incentive to safeguard opposition voices. In fact, whether we
are thinking of chief executives, cabinet members, judges, bureaucrats, or
even civic organizations, all of them can reasonably think that their
preferences would be better served if they had no opponents. Nor does the
separation-of-powers principle ensure dissidents the right to oppose those
in power -- each branch respects the powers of other branches only because
they must, not because they have anything to gain thereby. Only an
assembly, I believe, can enhance its own powers by protecting the rights
of its minorities.
A second point reinforces this consideration. Increasingly, we find that ethnic minorities live in enclaves where they constitute a majority. This is most obviously the case in many of the new states where imperial conquests simply put together different peoples -- sometimes they were mutually hostile nations -- and fostered the establishment of new multi-national states. National communities in such states often demand self-government and reject the logic of minority representation in any government dominated by others -- they want to have their own state, or at least to have self-government within an autonomous region. I have argued that it is easier for parliamentary regimes to recognize and establish such regions than it is for presidentialist regimes. However, I admit the argument is not a strong one.(19)
More importantly, I think we need to recognize a new kind of regime which combines confederalism with good government in each component (sub)state. The most familiar example of such a system can be seen in Switzerland where each canton is virtually an independent sub-state, but matters that affect all the cantons can be decided by a relatively weak "federal" government in Berne. This system is significantly different from the American form of federalism in which, with some reservations, we can say that every one of its 50 states mirrors the ethno-political structure of the central government. The most ethnically diverse state in this Union is Hawaii where the Caucasian community, though powerful, is also a minority and shares power with the Japanese and other important minorities. However, an active sovereignty movement among ethnic Hawaiians shows the serious limitations of this system. American presidentialism differs from Canada's parliamentarism as suggested by that country's recent decision to create a new self-governing Nunavut (20) dominated by its indigenous people. Similarly, the UK has, with Parliamentary authority, granted self-government to Scotland and Wales, and approved virtual independence for Northern Ireland.
Such a surrender of authority is far more difficult, I believe, under presidentialist constitutions. An apparent exception in the U.S. involves self-government for many American Indian nations, but this exception can also be explained by a quirk of our Constitution which grants constitutional authority to international treaties. Such treaties were often made between the U.S. and tribal authorities who were recognized as having rights equal to those of a foreign state. This mean that it was not necessary to invoke the extremely difficult procedures of constitutional amendment which would, otherwise, have been required to surrender authority over any region within the United States. Since the Hawaiian Monarchy was formally extinguished before the annexation of the islands, no such treaty could be made with Hawaii. Native Hawaiians today argue that the overthrow of the monarchy was made possible by Washington's support for the revolutionaries, and that this illegal decision should now be corrected by granting sovereignty to the Hawaiian nation.
My conclusion, however, is that something like the Swiss model would be suitable for modern states that want to be able to grant self-government to minority nations without having to partition themselves into two or more independent states. A better prototype, I think, can be found in the European Union. Although it is not a state, its composite form which contains a unified Assembly elected by all citizens of the Union, and a Council of Ministers that represents the constituent states, is a more appropriate model. I have explained my reasons for reaching this conclusion at: Confederalism. I have discussed this idea elsewhere and will not repeat it here -- see Constitutional Design? . (21)
In some ways, the new Lebanese constitution provides for such an arrangement by maximizing the authority of its religious communities while minimizing the functions of the Lebanese government. After a bitter civil war whose effects are still felt, the new constitutional system reflects some hard won lessons.
It might be difficult to achieve this kind of strong confederalism, but I think it is something we need to be thinking about. Let me add the point that peoples no longer live confined within any territorial boundaries -- perhaps such confinement was never true, but in the past the propportion of any people living within borders was surely much greater than it is today. Mobility of people, information, goods and services have now exploded so much that every nation in now global -- those who live in diaspora often exceed those who remain at home (or in anaspora). This suggests that we need to give more attention to the possibilities of personal autonomies -- permitting well-organized national communities to have significant degrees of self-government for all their members, regardless of where they may live. A practical example of such a design can be found in Alaska, one of the American states, where indigenous peoples have the right to create corporations entitled to organize and manage properties, funds, educational, religious, informational, and cultural establishments for their members without reference to where they may happen to be living.
Sometimes, no doubt, they may have a territorial base, but their corporations also enroll and serve members living elsewhere. This phenomenon applies, of course, to all independent states, many of whose citizens live abroad, in diaspora. This fact creates a fundamental problem that also needs to be considered in the design of constitutional systems. What rights do expatriates have in any state, and what are the duties of a state towards its citizens in diaspora? An interesting test case can be found in Israel which recognizes all Jews, whether or not they have lived or even visited Israel, as its citizens. However, perhaps unavoidably, Israel decided that its citizens can only vote if they are present on Israeli soil. The result is that many Jews who are citizens of other countries visit Israel on election days in order to cast their ballots -- a fact that has increased representation in the Knesset for some fundamentalist factions. Pakistan recognized similar rights for Indian Muslims, regardless of residence, who could migrate and acquire citizenship without delay.
Formal recognition and organization of personal nations based on
ethnicity rather than territorial residence would have important and
controversial consequences, but I think we need to pay serious attention
to this possibility in order to reach conclusions about the principles of
representation in modern democracies that will not only support effective
governance, but make government accountable to diverse populations under
their authority. I have proposed that the British regime might, for
example, enhance its accountability to minorities living in England, and
to English peoples living abroad, but revising its definition of the
functions and membership of the House of Lords, something for which I
believe there might well be political support in London -- see: Lords. (22)
Of course, this is only an idea and it might be impractical, but I believe
we should be thinking about options that might enable us to broaden the
representational base for democratic governance in order to take into
account the increasing diversity of our populations.
The ability of any state to govern hinges on the willingness of its citizens to accept its authority, to trust government, and to comply with laws and regulations voluntarily. When police and the military have to be used by a government to enforce its decisions, and imprisonment is used to threaten people into obedience, governments are seriously limited in what they can do. No doubt this has always been true for states, but modernity and globalization have radically changed conditions in the world, increasing the problems of state legitimacy. Citizens who reject the authority of a state now have more options, such as migration, that enable them to move to places they find more acceptable. Moreover, corporations that reject the taxes, environmental safeguards, labor standards, and other regulations imposed by a state may find that they can easily move their capital elsewhere and close down their operations at home. International interdependence has also increased so much that the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs is dwindling. States that fail to sustain a high level of legitimacy among their citizens are vulnerable to international interventions -- foreign powers and international organizations (both governmental and non-governmental) increasingly step in to impose changes, often in response to demands by aggrieved residents who reject the authority of their own governments. The point is that governments today must increasingly enhance the legitimacy of their operations.
The situation is strikingly different from what it used to be. Under traditional monarchies, subjects had no right to protest decisions made by those in power whose authority was viewed as supernaturally authoritative. Obedience was seen as the best way to improve one's life chances. Moreover, even if they were discontented, they had few opportunities to escape. Now, however, citizens believe they have a right to fair and effective government and, if they are unhappy with conditions at home, they may protest, organize resistance and, if that fails, go elsewhere, as indicated by the mounting number of refugees and voluntary migrants. Under these conditions, it behooves every government to increase its legitimacy, to strive to enhance the willingness of citizens to pay taxes, obey laws, and cooperate in the implementation of public policies. Effective governance hinges on legitimacy -- and illegitimacy has become a costly liability for regimes.
The Triangle of Legitimacy
The basic grounds for legitimacy in modern states are deeply contested -- it is not clear exactly what they should be in the ontological vacuum created by the collapse of monarchic notions based on sovereignty as a sacred mandate. Three competing frameworks for thinking about sovereignty in modern states -- as visualized in the triangle posted below -- have been discussed by Guillermo O'Donnell -- see endnote #15 . He proposes that polyarchies synthesize three historical traditions: democracy, liberalism, and republicanism. Each of these words, no doubt, has multiple meanings, but in his usage
He elaborates on these ideas, but I think this summary statement captures the essence of what is relevant here. (23) To help us visualize a rather complex set of relationships among complementary yet significantly different norms, we can use a simple image as visualized in the following figure:
FIGURE 1: THE TRIANGLE OF VIABLE MODERN GOVERNANCE
Although O'Donnell's conceptualizations of the liberal, republican and democratic traditions can be interpreted as competing views of what a modern state should do or be, I see them as mutually complementary -- each expresses precious values that need, somehow, to be synthesized in the design of any modern state that can viably replace traditional regimes. Moreover, and this may be paradoxical, each tradition is vulnerable to abuses when carried to extremes.
Think of each of O'Donnell's three terms as one side of a triangle. In the center, between them, there is a circle representing the average citizen confronting these three models, each of which comfortably works with the others when they stem from the moderate center of each value. Each of these variables, however, when stretched too far in either direction, leads to horrible outcomes;
both liberalism and democracy, when pushed to the lowest left corner of the pyramid generate anarchy -- the ultimate in liberal and democratic individualism
When we view each of the three basic parameters of modern governance from the center, rejecting their extremes, we might focus on three corresponding ideas: liberalism produces respect for human rights; republicanism leads to responsible bureaucracy; and democracy to social networking. I have long felt that our language tends to polarize our thinking between contraries that are, more significantly, complementary. The normal situation is intermediate between extremes and calls for a desirable middle way, by contast with both extremes -- I began to think seriously about this one summer when I was doing research at the Institute for Social Studies in Den Haag, and developed it further in some lectures I subsequently gave in Nepal -- see ISS . (24) I wrote:
If we adopt another perspective, looking at the triangle from the center as viewed by individual citizens, we can imagine that
Two associated ideas dangle in the wings above this triangle: vertical and horizontal accountability. I hope I do not misrepresent O'Donnell's understanding of these terms if I suggest that vertical accountability involves the responsiveness of elected officials to act on behalf of all their constituents, not just those who voted for them; whereas horizontal accountability involves the interactive responsiveness of all government agencies, each checking on the performance of the others and also responding to their criticisms and suggestions.
These complementary notions reflect different understandings of democracy in ordinary usage: the first stresses polyarchy and emphasizes free competition between political rivals in the election of representatives, whereas the second focuses on "checks and balances" designed to preserve democracy by preventing the abuse of power. Both presuppose the equal rights and duties of all citizens as also a requisite of democracy. I see these three complementary principles as necessary features of any viable democracy. (25)
A concrete example might be used to make the potential contradictions among these abstract principles more understandable: consider the situation in which a dominant majority seeks to require everyone to use its language while marginalized minorities try to retain their ancestral languages. The value of enhanced communication among all citizens wars with the competing value of preserving minority cultures. Vertical accountability might favor the majority language whereas horizontal accountability could safeguard minority cultures. The rights of citizens hinge on respect for their home language as well as their need for easy communication in public life.
Vertical accountability is especially potent in the electoral procedures that designate office-holders and empower them to promote majoritarian values while respecting minority concerns. In deference to liberalism, vertical accountability also applies to the relations between citizens and government officials, where the enforcement of laws and sensitivity to citizens' rights converge.
Similarly, we may think of horizontal accountability as coming to a focus at the top in the relations among chief executives, legislative bodies, and supreme judicial tribunals. At lower levels, the responsibilities of office-holders and citizens to each other can be viewed as trickling down from above -- all government agencies and citizen groups have mutual responsibilities that need to be respected if modern governance is to succeed.
The triangle of governance can also help us visualize another possibility. We might broaden our concepts of accountability to embrace three models which I call interactive accountability .
This is clearest, perhaps, at the bottom-up level of democratic accountability and power -- citizens have the authority required for self-government and the responsibility needed to maintain order and encourage development. Put in its most elemental terms, democracy represents popular sovereignty, a people's ability to make and carry out responsible decisions affecting the common good.
All of these good things, however, can be realized only if the three basic values are not pushed to extremes. Each normative framework becomes oppressive and destructive of human values when exaggerated, leading to the absurdities of anarchism, totalitarianism, gridlock and despotism. Let me note here that although I have used two words for the apex of the pyramid, I see them as closely linked: gridlock occurs when competing organs of government (notably the president and congress in separation-of-powers regimes ) cannot reach agreements on urgent issues and fail to make necessary decisions. In such a vacuum, some individuals seek to fill the vacuum as frequently seen in the rise of military dictatorships and, often, the proliferation of rival war lords. Fighting men normally lack the organizational skills and resources that enable single-party regimes to impose totalitarianism. Instead, such despotisms, born of gridlock, generate anarchy and chaos -- a combination I refer to as anarchianism (26) This concept links the prevalence of anarchy with weak authoritarianism in many war-torn societies. It is an all-too-familiar syndrome. (27)
Constitutional Design. You may well fault me for indulging in generalizations that lack concrete specificity for dealing with the institutions of government. I plead guilty on the grounds that concrete institutional structures which work well in one setting may fail in another -- see the contextual argument presented above in the opening paragraphs of this paper. Nevertheless, I do think it is relevant here to make a contrast between the two most widely accepted constitutional systems for democratic governance: the presidentialist (separation-of-powers) formula found in the U.S. and many other countries, especially in Latin America; and the parliamentary (cabinet government) design found in virtually all of Europe and many third world countries as well.
Contrary to the views expressed by virtually all American political scientists, (28) I have long felt that the presidentialist design is deeply flawed and likely to lead to the collapse of regimes based on the principle of separation-of-powers. See note #14. More recently I have speculated on the pros and cons of these two constitutional designs, as you may see at Parliamentarism vs. Presidentialism (29) Here I shall summarize the most significant differences.
Presidents as Legitimizers. One of the roles of a president in any regime based on the separation of powers is to serve as chief of state. In this capacity, the president is seen as a representative of all the people, a role based on popular election. Unfortunately, this role is often compromised and ineffective. It may be because, after all, even a majority president may be seriously opposed by defeated minorities. Often, however, the electoral system fails so that presidents are viewed as having come to power by fraudulent means -- the recent re-election of Alberto Fujimori in Peru is a striking current example. It has often happened that an incumbent president or dictator has been able to manipulate popular elections in order to retain or enhance power.
Even more fundamentally, however, we have to ask whether even when a president is honestly elected by a country's popular majority, she or he can, in fact, do much to enhance the regime's legitimacy. The first and most obvious point is that in all presidentialist regimes the president is not only head of state but also head of government. That means that all presidents must become embroiled in controversies that estrange them from important segments of the population. They cannot be universally popular, a fact that contradicts the functions of a head of state as symbolic representative of all the people.
A second point is even more telling, in my opinion. I think the assumption that the role of elected head of state can legitimize a regime is based on a fallacy. Traditionally, kings as heads of state, gained their legitimacy from sacred sources of power -- their subjects believed that the ceremonies and sacrifices of kings activated supernatural forces that brought health and wealth to all their subjects. Clearly no elected president can perform such a function. The historical events that led to the replacement of kings with presidents simply glossed over this fact, largely because they occurred in contexts where existing monarchs had been discredited. The American Revolution is exemplary. The Declaration of Independence contains a catalog of charges against the King of England that undermined the legitimacy of monarchic rule, and the Philadelphia convention, after weighing the possibility of creating an American king, abandoned the proposal and substituted an elected president. From the beginning, therefore, the American president was only an ersatz king in a country where monarchism had already been rejected. Nevertheless, that decision has been perpetuated to the present day. President Clinton does his best to be presidential while under the cloud of a failed impeachment effort that has subjected him to so much scorn and ridicule that I doubt the office can ever really serve the legitimizing functions its founders visualized.
By contrast, the rise of parlilaments replaced the authority of kings with that of a representative assembly. Any parliament can be seen as the embodiment of all the diverse interests of the citizens it represents. Even though constitutional monarchy persists in many parliamentary democracies, it does not in fact remain the basic seat of legitimacy. Even in England there is talk of abolishing the monarchy as though it were just an expensive decoration. Some Commonwealth members, like Australia, are seriously weighing the possibility of becoming republics. India chose to become a republic in 1950, shortly after it achieved its independence. In my opinion, the traumas involved in electing a president in parliamentary systems -- France and Austria provide good example -- can best be avoided by retaining monarchy (or monarchic surrogates).
Parliaments as Legitimizers. The ability of parliaments to legitimize a regime are based, above all, on their representativeness of the whole body of citizens -- something that can happen even under the Westminster single-member district system -- but it is more likely to occur, I believe, when multi-member districts and some kind of PR system are used in parliamentary elections. However, other considerations reinforce this basic fact. Most importantly, the ability of Parliament to oust a government by a no-confidence vote means that Cabinets need to retain the confidence of Parliament in order to survive. As a result, they must take every precaution to maintain their majority and they are able to govern effectively to the degree that they secure support for their policies. Since deep consultation with top bureaucrats is both possible and necessary in such regimes, they are able to maintain the kind of interactive horizontal accountability that preserves their authority over the bureaucracy, permits policy integration between ministries and departments, and also assures the legitimization of their decisions by parliament. Consequently, even though many parliaments can be criticized as little more than legitimizers for those in power, the fact that they do endorse government decisions means that they also legitimize regimes.
Let me add a couple of points that usually reinforce this effect. First, constitutional reform is necessary in all systems of government simply because of technological, environmental, demographic, and other changes that make old rules obsolete and call for new ones. In parliamentary systems, it is normally possible for Parliament, subject to various kinds of special rules, to adopt fundamental laws that create constitutional changes. Because of the separation of powers, such reforms are far more difficult to achieve in presidentialist regimes where the concurrence of three independent branches is required and additional hurdles involving general plebiscites or special constitutional conventions may also be needed. Although some important amendments have been adopted in the U.S., the most important ones were those that made its original acceptance possible, and those that followed the devastating Civil War. Since then, only trivial changes have been made and, essentially, our eighteenth century model still survives as the most important de facto basis of legitimacy in the American system: no one of its three branches -- Congress, President or Supreme Court -- can, in fact, serve this function. As a result, the highly idealized written Constitution of 1789 remains primary basis of legitimacy in the United States. There have, of course, been many new constitutions in the other countries where presidentialism prevails, but they normally follow a collapse in which legitimate government fails. Efforts to restore democracy are hampered by the embededness of historical precedents that lead to the re-enactment of a failed design. Precisely because of their recency, however, these constitutions lack much legitimizing authority. Perhaps for this very reason their authors avoided challenging tradition by opting for a parliamentary form of government.
A second consideration sounds trivial but I think it is not unimportant. Parliaments provide good national theater, something a Congress cannot provide. The starting point is the willingness of parliaments to act in support of government policy, providing an image of success, even when the government parties are responsible for their decisions. However, they always retain an impressive ability and willingness to talk. Such talk often takes two contrasting forms, both of which reinforce the capacity of parliaments to legitimize regimes. First, and significantly, they are able to have debates on the most important issues that concern citizens, even when these debates have little to do with any pending legislation. To the degree that members clearly and entertainingly debate important issues, they provide a national forum that attracts media attention, informs and amuses citizens, and helps to legitimize the regime.
A secondary but still important practice found in most parliamentary regimes involves question periods when members, not only those in opposition but back benchers (members of a government party not in the cabinet) are able to pose embarrassing questions of cabinet members about details of day-to-day administration. This gives ordinary citizens a sense that their understandable personal concerns are of interest to their representatives and, no doubt, the questions often lead to corrective actions at the administrative level.
By contrast, congresses in presidentialist regimes cannot perform these functions. Strong congresses are often caught up in protracted conflicts with the President, giving an impression of indecisiveness and incompetence. Weak congresses are mere puppets of the president and thereby lose their credibility. Congress lacks the authority to make constitutional reforms -- it can only recommend them. Debates in a congress revolve about the details of specific legislation, raising questions only well qualified lawyers can often understand, and they give the general public a sense of irrelevance and prevarication that discredits the institution. Moreover, much of the important decision-making process in a Congress goes on behind closed doors, in sub-committee sessions and staff meetings or consultations with lobbyists. No doubt many citizens are able to secure help from their representatives, but often on the basis of pork barrel appropriations or interventions with public officials. These arrangements are seen as catering to special interests and, therefore, as a weakening rather than a strengthening of responsiveness to public interests. I believe the question period in parliaments may have similar results but in a much more favorable context that enhances the legitimacy of government rather than undermining it.
Apart from questions of legitimacy, I believe parliamentary constitutional systems are more able to cope effectively with the problems generated by industrialization and the rise of nationalism than presidentialist systems. However, I shall not take up the arguments for this conclusion here since I have already spelled them out elsewhere: Industrialism a paper still in draft only, and Nationalism , a working paper to be distributed soon by UNESCO. (30) Briefly, however, let me say that I believe parliamentary regimes, because their powers are fused, are more able to establish and manage a bureaucracy led by career generalists (mandarins) whereas presidentialist regimes would surely lose control to such an inherently powerful bureaucracy and must, therefore, depend heavily on patronage appointees at the top levels of government -- this means that the former can more easily organize themselves to cope effectively with the problems generated by industrialism. As for ethnic diversity and nationalism, I believe that proportional representation is feasible under parliamentary rules whereas it is destructive in presidentialist regimes. That means that it is easier for them to cope with the problems caused by growing ethnic diversity. In both types of systems, however -- as argued above in #II.4 -- I believe constitutional innovations merging confederal with unitary principles of government are needed to handle the evolving problems generated by ethnic nationalism as it emerges in enclaves within many modern states. (31)
All the general observations offered above are, admittedly, speculative in character. They rest on observations I have made during a long career in which I have looked at the politics and administration of newly developing states as well as those of advanced democracies, including my own country, the United States. I have reached conclusions about the American presidentialist system that clash with those of almost all my professional colleagues who still think our system provides a good model for export to virtually all other countries. They refuse to engage in the kinds of comparative analysis that would, I think, give them an appreciation both for the reasons why presidentialism has succeeded as much as it has in the U.S. despite its miserable record in other countries, and why also American constitutional design and related bureaucratic practices and institutions have such limited relevance in other countries.
My work in a few of the developing countries has also persuaded me that the starting pont for any successful program to improve public administration or governance needs to be a serious analysis and understanding of what already exists in concrete situations. Every country has a unique historical experience, social structure and population, resources and limitations. Changes have to be made within an existing context and they can never be imposed from outside with any hope of success. However, international comparative analysis does, I think, provide the basis for reaching some useful general conclusions that can facilitate good decision-making anywhere. At the least, we can rule out failed systems. We should know well what does not work anywhere and never recommend it. Knowing what has worked, however, gives us a basis for at least thinking about options that might work in new situations. Undoubtedly they would need to be used with caution and subject to innovations based on local experience and knowledge. However, I think we could export governmental practices with more likelihood of success if we were to emphasize this context-based framework for thinking about practices that have succeeded elsewhere, not in any one country, but in many countries, analyzed comparatively.
Finally, thinking about the fundamental changes that have produced our globalized modern world system, I have some general thoughts. No country is an island apart from the rest of the world -- we are all highly interdependent in a world that impinges on and pre-conditions what is possible in any place. No nation exists solely within the boundaries of a single state -- indeed, all nations have growing diasporas, a reality that compels us to think about intra-state mechanisms that can more adequately take into account the inter-state consequences of globalization.
Modernity has brought industrialization and a host of ramifications, including the information revolution and today's INTERNET. It has also undermined the legitimacy of sovereignty reflected in sacred monarchies, and made popular sovereignty, increasingly, the only legitimate basis for governance. In this context, we have to understand how the collapse of sacred authority and the failures of democracy have fueled a torrent of violent authoritarian and weak systems of governance. Even though many of them have put up a facade of constitutional democracy, in fact unstable anarchy and ineffective governance prevail in much of the world. I think and hope it is possible for us to do something to help ease the much-needed transition to new forms of government that will more successfully reflect the needs of increasingly diverse multi-ethnic populations, and also provide more efficient administration to cope with the problems that globalization has made increasingly urgent.
I hope that ALADIN members will play an important role in helping everyone find solutions to such problems, especially in the countries where I know they are working. With this parting thought, let me thank all of you for having invited me to share my thoughts and to write them down. This paper is available on my Home Page at: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/aladin.htm. If any of you, on reading it, think of comments or questions you would like to pose, please do not hesitate to write me at:
FRED W. RIGGS, Professor Emeritus
Political Science Department, University of Hawaii
2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A.
Fax: (808) 956-6877, E-mail: FREDR@HAWAII.EDU
Web Page: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/
Home: 3920 Lurline Drive, Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone: (808) 732-5308; or 734 8657
1. This paper was written in response to a request from Aladin to say something about Exporting Governance?. Although I doubt any system of government can ever be exported successfully, outsiders can surely help people who want to re-design or improve their existing system of government. However, this process requires in-depth understanding of the existing situation in a country, appreciation of points at which change may be feasible, and a capacity to anticipate their likely consequences. In addition, outsiders may usefully contribute theories and suggestions based on the comparative analysis of experience in many other countries. In the first part of the following paper I shall discuss the context of change from tradition to modernity that has produced prismatic forces which condition all efforts to reform or introduce new systems of governance. In the second part of the paper I shall talk about the principles of governmental organization that seem to me to be decisively important in designing viable transformations in the way political systems work.
2. In a paper /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/sapatalk.htm/ recently presented in Korea, I discuss my first attempt, in 1956, to export government and my realization that the task was impossible, that one needs to start bottom-up with knowledge about how the existing system works and might actually be changed.
3. The URL is: PRISM /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/autobio3.htm#prism/. For details of the prismatic model see my book, Administration in Developing Countries: The Theory of Prismatic Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964. A note on the prismatic model followed by a check-list of the author's recent papers relating to comparative public administration can be found at: -- /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/#prism/.
4. A growing number of governments and non-governmental consultants have attempted, during the past half century, to help new states develop economically and, increasingly also, to assist them in strengthening their administrative, legal and constitutional practices. Many of them have home pages that are listed at: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/sites.htm#dev/ development sites. Aladin members are no doubt familiar with EADI The European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes, whose site can be found at: /http://www.eadi.org/index.html/. Their very impressive membership list can be found at: /www.eadi.org/membersontheweb.htm/. A link to "news from members" on this site will take readers to a sub-link for their publications.
An important EADI member is the Institute of Social Studies at The Hague, whose home page at: /www.iss.nl/ provides access to a wealth of informtion, including its own projects in many countries at /www.iss.nl/index4.htm/. Also, visit their useful set of links at: -- /www.iss.nl/index9.htm/. A recent book summarizing and assessing various approaches to the analysis of development, with an extensive current bibliography, is: M. Shamsul Haque, Restructuring Development Theories and Policies: A Critical Study. State University of New York Press, 1999.
5. Although area specialists may not have expertise on principles of constitutional design or the organization of government, they do know a lot about what can and cannot work in particular contexts. Such specialists can be found not only in any country, but also among foreign observers and citizens in diaspora. I think our best sources of information about a particular country can often be found among its expatriates -- their foreign experience sometimes helps them view their own country with more objectivity than those living at home. For links to Web Sites for area specialists go to: -- /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/sites.htm#glocal/ Glocalities
6. To do this, we need new metaphors. Elsewhere I wrote, Glocalities may be compared to comets: they have a local head and a widely dispersed tail and it is both unrealistic and unnecessary to try to separate the two parts of this whole. However, neither our vocabulary nor conventional thinking permit us to think globally about the interconnectedness of people living in a home territory and their members living elsewhere. Diaspora is a term used rather imprecisely to refer to people who have left home or, more usefully, to dispersed peoples who stay in touch with their homeland. Willa Tanabe, dean of Asia/Pacific studies at the University of Hawaii has written perceptively about this phenomenon as one may see at: /www2.hawaii.edu/movingcultures/tanabe-crisis.html#globalization/ Moving Cultures . For more comments and links to some diasporan sites see: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/diaglo.htm#not/ Diasporas.
7. Instead of viewing industrialization, the rise of nationalism, and democratization as separate phenomena, I think we need to see that they are so interdependent that it makes more sense to view them as parts of the larger process of modernity -- cumulatively, they have reinforced the currently overwhelming phenomena of globalization. See triad /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/6-syr5a.htm#triad/.
8. Of course, traditional organizations that are exclusively hierarchic or polyarchic also survive in today's world -- they include families, clans, gangs, clubs, and sodalities. Corporations, states, and associations exemplify the modern form of organization. See: modern /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/6-lap9a.htm#mod/.
9. An interesting case in point can be found in the current effort to reform the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. The process has been launched by ending the membership of Hereditary Lords. A Royal Commission has recommended reforms that will permit new Members to be appointed who can speak for unrepresented regions and ethnic communities. Details, with links to relevant Web Sites can be found at: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/lords.htm/ House of Lords
10. "Fragility of the Third World's Regimes." International Social Science Journal. No. 136 (May) 1993. pp. 199-243.
11. See my "Bureaucracy and Viable Constitutionalism." Abdo Baaklini and Helen Desfosses, eds, Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism. Armonk, NY; London, UK: M.E.Sharpe, 1997. pp.95-125.
12. The nation/state discourse typically focuses on people living within the boundaries of an established state. However, contemporary globalization entails so much migration accompanied by instant long-distance communication that large diasporas increasingly expand the frontiers of nations beyond the borders of their home states. In fact, virtually all contemporary nations may be viewed as global communities. This has raised questions about the right of diasporans to participate in the political life of their own nations -- as by voting through absentee ballots. Some thoughts on these matters can be found in The Need for a Paradigm Shift in Democratic Theory /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/unrep.htm/ Unrepresented Communities. For information about national diasporas see: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/sites.htm#glocal/ Glocalization.
13. Some aspects of this distinction are quite famililar. Sir Henry Maine long ago, in Ancient Law 1861, discussed the basic transition from status to contract, and we are all familiar with the related Gemeinschaft/Gesellschaft distinction made by F. Teonnies, Community and Society -- Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, trans by C. P. Loomis, Michigan State Univ. Press, 1957; and the sacred/secular society contrast elaborated by Howard Becker, "Current Sacred-Secular Theory" Becker and Boskoff, eds. Modern Sociological Theory in Continuity and Change, Dryden press, 1957, ch.6. For a discussion of these polarities in the context of my own prismatic ideas see Riggs, Administration in Developing Countries: The Theory of Prismatic Society. Houghton Mifflin, 1964. pp. 68-71, and 431-448. My main conclusion was that such polarities fail to take into account the conflicts that arise during periods of transition from one to the other orientation.
14. For details on the exceptional features of this institutional design see Problems of Presidentialism and the American Exception /http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/pres.htm/. A critical assessment of the performance of presidentialist regimes can be found in: The Failure of Presidential Democracy: Comparative Perspectives Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela. A more favorable assessment of the separation-of-powers design is offered in Presidents and Assemblies by Matthew Shugart and John M. Carey, Cambridge University Press, 1992. An evaluation of my analysis of presidentialism in America by Abdo Baaklini can be found at: Constitutional Design, Democracy, and Conflict Management in Divided States -- /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/baaklini.htm/. Baaklini also offers a balanced analysis of the problem of group representation in mixed societies -- see note #12 and click on Unrepresented Communities .
15. A recent book, The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies. (Lynne Reiner, 1999) edited by Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, examines the problems of maintaining democracy, and contains O'Donnell's explanation of his views. The book contains an extended bibliography of the relevant modern literature. See also O'Donnell's further thoughts on horizontal accountability at: O'Donnell /www.nd.edu/~kellogg/ODonnell.html/.
16. Whereas the government can be removed in parliamentary regimes by a vote of no-confidence due to policy differences, in a presidentialist system only serious personal misconduct by the president is grounds for a protracted and painful impeachment procedure. See: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/impeach2.htm/ Impeachment vs. Harassment.
17. An explanation of why the United States has, exceptionally, been able to retain its 18th century Constitution, with modest amendments, for more than two centuries whereas other countries adopting the same separation-of-powers principle have typically experienced catastrophic breakdowns can be found in Problems of Presidentialism and the American Exception -- see note #14. With a few changes, this draft was published in Mattei Dogan and Ali Kazancigil, eds. Comparing Nations: Concepts, Strategies, Substance. Blackwell, 1994. pp. 72-152.
18. In The Nine Nations of North America (Avon, 1981) Joel Garreau, a Washington Post reporter, asserts that traditional boundaries in North America, like state and national boundaries, have become increasingly meaningless as the continent has already broken up into nine separate countries.
19. I have discussed this argument under the heading of Constitutional Context in a paper on Ethnic Diversity, Nationialism and Constitutional Democracy prepared for use by UNESCO in its MOST program. See: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/formost.htm#2.12
20 Information about Nunavut can be found at: Nunavut /www.nunanet.com/~nunat/pages/nunavut.html/
21. The URL references are: Confederalism /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/formost.htm#2.23/ and Constitutional Design? . /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/glodem.htm#V/.
22. A Royal Commission has recommended transforming the House of Lords into a New Second Chamber in which it will be possible to secure representations for ethnic commuinities and some regions. For details and proposals to overcome weaknesses in the Report, see Lords. /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/lords.htm/.
23. The term, democracy has come to be used widely and loosely for a variety of overlapping concepts -- O'Donnell's usage represents just one of them. There is a large literature on democracy and no single work can capture all the relevant nuances. An excellent bibliography of both classical and contemporary texts with special reference to third world countries was published by the Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 1994. It can be found at: /www.ids.ac.uk/eldis/ggov/demcdr.html/ Democracy. Although it has been somewhat up-dated, it does not cover the most recent literature. More selective and up--to-date bibliographic information can be found at the Center for the Study of Democracy, UC/Irvine, at: /hypatia.ss.uci.edu/democ/book_ind.html/. Interesting, technical "how to" guides -- best practices, lessons learned, evaluations, and assessments of value to the development community working in the area of democracy and governance -- published by the U.S. Agency for International Development can be found at: /www.usaid.gov/democracy/pubsindex.html#cdie/ Democracy. Some other sites and relevant texts are linked on my Web Page at: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/sites.htm#dem/ -- Democracy Texts
24. In Buddhist teaching, many variables involve undesirable polar extremes and the way to salvation involves a middle way that steers between what the Greeks personified as Scylla and Charybdis My prescriptions for social action involved finding such a mid-course between ominous extremes typically viewed in Western thought as right/wrong options. See Prismatic Society Revisited /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/autobio3.htm#iss/, a monograph prepared at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.
25. See references to O'Donnell and the Self-Restraining State in note #15. See also his recent paper, Horizontal Accountability -- /www.nd.edu/~kellogg/ODonnell.html/
26. Although one may view the world system as anarchian, I originally proposed the term in the context of an analysis of the prevalence of anarchy within new states born out of the collapse of industrial empires: anarchianism -- /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/tan-f.htm#[tan1]/.
27. An interesting current example can be found in Somalia. Exceptionally, one of the competing groups in that war-torn country decided to establish a federal democratic state called Puntland. Instead of demanding independence, they seek to provide a model that can be replicated throughout Somalia by the formation of a democratic federation. For details see: Puntland. -- /puntlandnet.com/. For information about other strife-torn countries see reports by the International Crisis Group at: /www.crisisweb.org/.
An exceptional project on War-torn Societies sponsored by the UN Research Institute for Social Development, based in Geneva, sheds light on several of these countries, notably Somalia, Eritrea, Mozambique, and Guatemala -- reports based on its work can be found at: http://www.unrisd.org/wsp/links.htm. Additional information about many war-torn societies can be found in the WSP Database at: /www.unrisd.org/wsp/talk.htm/.
28. Admittedly there are some American scholars who have dared to criticize the basic design of the American constitutional design. Among them I would include the following:
A journalistic assessment of the American system should also be noted:
29. Parliamentarism vs. Presidentialism /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/6-lap9a.htm/ For an analysis of the exceptional American case based on comparisons with other separation-of-powers regimes see: "Conceptual Homogenization of a Heterogeneous Field: Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective." Comparing Nations: Concepts, Strategies, Substance. Mattei Dogan and Ali Kazancigil, eds. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. 1994. pp.72-152. The draft text can be found at: The American exception -- /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/pres.htm/.
30. See: Industrialism /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/6-mstzb.htm#II/ a paper still in draft only, and Nationalism -- /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/formost.htm/.
31. Some speculations on how this may be accomplished are offered in a paper called In Response to Globalization: can Democracies do better? presented at a workshop sponsored by the International Studies Association, March 2000. The text can be found at: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/glodem.htm#V/. Even the most advanced democracies still lack practices that accommodate the radical changes accompanying globalization in the world today including, for example, the escalation of migration and the information revolution that are globalizing all nations and diversifying all localities. Some thoughts about how states can more adequately represent communities that are unrepresented in their political institutions can be found in the paper identified above in notes #6 and #12 dealing with political implications of diasporization. See: /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/unrep.htm/.
ANNEX: THE TRIANGLE OF VIABLE MODERN GOVERNANCE
The triangle shown in Figure 1 can be seen in a larger version at /www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/triangle.htm/.
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