Author Topic: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized  (Read 8470 times)

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Offline Captain Jack Harkness

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Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« on: March 17, 2013, 01:48:21 am »
So I was just thinking.  There are pros and cons to having centralized governments vs. decentralized governments.  The centralized governments can work on projects of bigger national scope.  However, they might have problems understanding more local issues.

So, let's compare large and small governments and discuss the pros and cons of each.
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Offline Cataclysm

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 02:37:12 pm »
What do you mean decentralized? Do you mean states rights or panarchy?
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Offline Askold

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 02:58:43 pm »
Is this specific to USA?

Because generally speaking I would support a mostly centralized goverment. Have all the big decicions for the country decided in one place. Cities and municipalities and such can handle the local stuff and certainly all regions of the country should be represented in the ruling body but I don't support dividing up the power everywhere.

It gets confusing and inefficient.
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Offline Auggziliary

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 03:18:51 pm »
I'd like to mention that the Articles of Confederation sucked because of the lack of central government. I'm just throwing that in there... because I don't really have a good opinion on this.
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Offline dpareja

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 03:27:26 pm »
It's a strange thing that the US (under the 1789 Constitution, of course) was designed to have a relativity weak central government (but still strong enough to be effective), while Canada (under the then-British North America Act) was designed to have a strong central government. (This can be seen in how all the powers not explicitly delineated are assigned--in the US, to the states or the people, in Canada, to the federal government.)

History and court decisions have reversed the situation. The Commerce Clause, in particular, has resulted in the US federal government having a lot more power than the Framers probably ever envisioned*, while the Canadian provinces' authority over such things as health, education and natural resources has resulted in them having more power than the Fathers of Confederation probably ever envisioned.

*I haven't actually read the Federalist Papers or anything like that so that's just a guess on my part.

My views on this stuff don't really have to do with centralized vs decentralized government, though, but rather with Westminster parliamentary democracy vs US Presidential-Congressional democracy (not to mention all the various forms in between), and with various sorts of electoral systems, which are another topics entirely.
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Offline nickiknack

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 05:15:55 pm »
I'd like to mention that the Articles of Confederation sucked because of the lack of central government. I'm just throwing that in there... because I don't really have a good opinion on this.

Bingo, it ended up a real clusterfuck.
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Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 05:25:30 pm »
I'd like to mention that the Articles of Confederation sucked because of the lack of central government. I'm just throwing that in there... because I don't really have a good opinion on this.

Not quite. The Articles of Confederation did have a system of Congress set up to vote on nationwide laws. The problem was that they had no standing army to enforce them, which essentially meant that the states could do whatever they wanted despite the laws and the federal government couldn't do anything about it. (I'm looking at you, Rhode Island.) One more implication of no standing army meant that the government had no authority to collect taxes, which was a huge fucking problem because France was getting pissy and demanding some reimbursement for their assistance during the American Revolutionary War.

I generally believe in a more decentralized government because I think managing things on a small scale is much more efficient than bureaucracy on a large scale. However, I still believe that there needs to be some kind of federal authority that states and municipalities should be required to answer to, so that we don't have states peeping into people's bedrooms or legislating Christianity as the state religion. Sometimes I toy with the idea that the judicial branch should have more power but stricter term limits.
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Offline dpareja

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 06:09:02 pm »
A centralized government is also necessary to handle large-scale natural disasters efficiently. Hurricanes, tornadoes and the like don't stop at state lines, and having to coordinate disaster management across multiple state agencies would take precious time that could cost many lives.
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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 08:43:54 pm »
To my knowledge, the only reason governments aren't more centralised is because they were founded in a time when instant communication wasn't a thing. Without powerful regional governments, it'd be impossible to get anything done because it could take months for a federal government's orders to reach its agents in more distant areas. Hell, it's why the various colonies and territories in the British Empire were effectively autonomous, even though their governors technically answered directly to London.

Nowadays, I'd love to see things more centralised. Having things like education and healthcare managed by states rather than the federal government only serves to turn it into a confusing mess. There's simply no reason not to have a federal curriculum or healthcare standards. State government should be relegated more to a managerial/administrative role rather than a government with any real decision-making power.

Offline kefkaownsall

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 08:53:22 pm »
A centralized government is also necessary to handle large-scale natural disasters efficiently. Hurricanes, tornadoes and the like don't stop at state lines, and having to coordinate disaster management across multiple state agencies would take precious time that could cost many lives.
Republicans had a hard time wrapping their minds around this (Romney and FEMA)

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2013, 06:28:08 am »
There's simply no reason not to have a federal curriculum or healthcare standards.
There is, it's not a logical reason, but there is a reason. You'd be asking the states to give up political power, which they're somewhat lacking in the first place these days.

I wholeheartedly agree there should be a minimum federal curriculum(with minimum per child funding supplied), leave some room in for local history and advanced locally funded electives and it could work. But it'd take about .3 seconds before the first preacher(and his congressman) started in on the evils of topics 1-N of that curriculum.

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2013, 07:00:54 am »
There's simply no reason not to have a federal curriculum or healthcare standards.
There is, it's not a logical reason, but there is a reason. You'd be asking the states to give up political power, which they're somewhat lacking in the first place these days.

I wholeheartedly agree there should be a minimum federal curriculum(with minimum per child funding supplied), leave some room in for local history and advanced locally funded electives and it could work. But it'd take about .3 seconds before the first preacher(and his congressman) started in on the evils of topics 1-N of that curriculum.
I suppose I was more writing from my own, Australian perspective on the matter. I imagine it would take a lot more than simply getting the politicians to stop yelling like school children for a long enough to pass the relevant bills (admittedly, that's no small task in itself) in America. In fact, the federal government over has has been slowly taking over healthcare for a while now. As I recall, they're partially taking over funding in exchange for more control. Very much a step in the right direction, if you ask me.

On an unrelated note, I have to say, I find America's hard-on for State's Rights utterly fascinating. It's amazing how hard people will cling to tradition even after it's long ceased to be relevant.

Offline Captain Jack Harkness

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2013, 07:40:45 am »
While this relates to the government, I partially brought this up because of businesses.  Some businesses are ruled by the fucking central corporate staff, while others have more local control.  I guess what I mean is that while you get control and resources from a big entity, you may have people who don't even understand the local issues trying to influence them.

Of course, government and business aren't the same.  I was just wondering how much influence each level of government should have on each issue.
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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 08:09:45 am »
I suppose I was more writing from my own, Australian perspective on the matter. I imagine it would take a lot more than simply getting the politicians to stop yelling like school children for a long enough to pass the relevant bills (admittedly, that's no small task in itself) in America. In fact, the federal government over has has been slowly taking over healthcare for a while now. As I recall, they're partially taking over funding in exchange for more control. Very much a step in the right direction, if you ask me.
Pretty much, as you said, there's no real reason not to. The Feds realized a couple decades ago that most of it's funding comes from less backward areas and withholding funding can bring other areas into line with their goals.

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On an unrelated note, I have to say, I find America's hard-on for State's Rights utterly fascinating. It's amazing how hard people will cling to tradition even after it's long ceased to be relevant.
To some extent it serves a purpose, wide spread change is slowed significantly. This isn't entirely a bad thing as your typical revolution ends worse off than everything started, but it frustrates the hell out of people trying to make the change. It takes considerably more than a majority of the US to support something before it has a chance in hell of passing, or a lot of money behind it. As such it's not overly likely any new decisions made will be divisive enough to actually cause another civil war.

Though the phrase states rights is waved attached to the most retarded shit possible, particularly where it is in no way applicable.

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Re: Government: Centralized vs. Decentralized
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2013, 08:46:26 am »
To some extent it serves a purpose, wide spread change is slowed significantly. This isn't entirely a bad thing as your typical revolution ends worse off than everything started, but it frustrates the hell out of people trying to make the change. It takes considerably more than a majority of the US to support something before it has a chance in hell of passing, or a lot of money behind it. As such it's not overly likely any new decisions made will be divisive enough to actually cause another civil war.

Though the phrase states rights is waved attached to the most retarded shit possible, particularly where it is in no way applicable.
I can't imagine that being too big a help in today's world. The risk of civil war is much less than the risk of stagnation.