Σάββατο, 31 Αυγούστου 2013

50. DEMOCRATIC AND FEDERALISM By Titos Christodoulou

By Titos Christodoulou
Federalism raises several challenges to democratic theory,especially as developed for unitary states. Federal arrangements are often morecomplex, thereby challenging standards of transparency and accountability. Therestricted political agendas of each center of authority also require defense(Dahl 1983; Braybrooke 1983). 

The power that sub-unitswield in federations often restricts or violatesmajority rule, in ways that merit careful scrutiny. Federal politicalorders typically influence individuals’ political influence by skewing theirvoting weight in favor of citizens of small sub-units, or by granting sub-unitrepresentatives veto rights on central decisions. Minorities thus exercisecontrol in apparent violation of principles of political equality andone-person-one-vote — more so when sub-units are of different size.


Thesefeatures raises fundamental normative questions concerning why sub-units shouldmatter for the allocation of political power among individuals who live indifferent sub-units.

Federations are oftenthought to be ’sui generis’, one-of-a-kinddeviations from the ideal-type unitary sovereign state familiar from theWestphalian world order. Indeed, every federation may well be federal in itsvery own way, and not easy to summarize and assess as an ideal-type politicalorder. Yet the phenomenon of non-unitary sovereignty is not new, and federalaccommodation of differences may well be better than the alternatives. When andwhy this is so has long been the subject of philosophical, theoretical andnormative analysis and reflection.
Such arguments may alsocontribute to the overarching loyaltyrequired among citizens of stable, legitimate federations, who mustunderstand themselves as members of twocommonwealths.

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