is a system of government whereby the national/central governmentshares some of its powers with state/regional government withdelimited self-governing authority. In the Canadian federalgovernment, regional governments are known as province government,while in other countries such as the US are known as stategovernment. Unlike the unitary government where the nationalgovernment controls everything, in the federal government, thenational government shares its authorities and responsibilities tostate government. Some of the countries that practice federalisminclude India, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, andthe United States. The federal government has some advantages, aswell as disadvantages.
Firstly,federalism encourages diversity hence, it is suitable for a largegeographical area (Jones126).Local government deals directly with its local problems and thenational government do not interfere with it. Corresponding, thenational government also deals with its own national problems. Inaddition, encourages innovation and experimentation inpublic policy. James Bryce, a constitutional scholar, notes thatfederalism encourages innovation and experimentation (Harrison,Trevor, and John 45).Itencourages nation’s development in a decentralized manner thus,allowing unique and innovative methods to deal with political,economical, and social issues.
Secondly,federalism increases citizen participation. The national governmentdoes no centralize all powers into its hands rather it diffuses someto regional governments that are close to the common citizens. Inother words, federalism keeps the government closer to its people. Indoing so, it offers more protection to its citizens’ rights. Inaddition, it offers more protection against dangerous leaders.Besides, federalism allows people to vie and hold political offices.For instance, in countries where federalism is practiced, thousandsof people hold political offices in cities, districts, provinces,counties, and municipalities. These leaders are closer to the localcitizen than the leaders in the national government. Research showsthat local government is always more manageable and responsivecompared to the national government (Harrisonet. al. 54).
Thirdly,federalism manages conflicts. Since citizens are actively involved inthe regional government, there is less pressure unlike if thenational government were the only decision maker. systemallows its citizens to make decisions both at the national andregional level hence, battling out unwanted policies. Sincedifferent states have different policies, people can live in statesthat are favorable to them.
Fourthly,federalism enhances political stability. Since national governmentdelegates some of its function to the states government, it has ampletime to focus fully on the world issues and policies. Therefore, thenational government is able to achieve and maintain stability.Further, Smith(89)urges that federalism minimize the gap between the government and itspeople. This is because the regional government is always in tunepeoples’ aspirations and need even in small and isolated places.
Fifthly, improves efficiency. Smith(96) urges that there is a lot of confusion, delays, red tape, andbureaucracy where only one government is in authority. The nationalgovernment cannot be in charge of education, health, police, garbagecollections, street lighting, sewage disposal, road, among areas.
Finally, ensures separation of powers between the national and thestate government. Accordingly, it prevents dictatorship. Smith(59) point out that the distribution of power prevents tyranny sincenot all powers are concentrated in the national government. Further,devolution of power corresponds to the division of work that leads tooptimum utilization of resources.
allows inequalities between states. For instance, education is anational issue hence, funding should be equal among all states(Jones121).Unfortunately, some states spend more per capita compared to otherstates causing disparity. Likewise, similar occurrence occurs on thewelfare program, health care programs, taxes, among other nationalissues. Natural resources, employment opportunities, and industriesdiffer from one region to another hence, wealth and earnings areunevenly distributed. This broadens the gap between the rich and thepoor because rich states offer more benefits and job opportunities toits citizens, unlike the poor states.
Accordingto Jones (85), federalism does not eliminate poverty. On thecontrary, it is disadvantaged to the poor states and communities. Thepoor states continue to have low levels of education, welfareservices, health, environmental and police protection. Commonly,during the national policy framing, only the intellectuals arepresent. Unfortunately, these intellectuals are not aware of thelocal needs of the poor people thus, the formulated policies do notyield good results.
Jones(123) point out that federalism system lack accountability. Instead,it fosters coordination problems between national and stategovernment. There is the possibility of overlapping rules andregulations that leave citizen in confusion state. Consequently,overlapping of boundaries may lead to duplication of offices andfunctions hence, making it complex to deal with failed policies.Smith(68) urges that although the division of power is advantageous, itbring a lot of confusion between the national government and thestate government. It leads to reluctances and delay especially whenassigning success or blames of failures. For instance, in 2005, therewas a delay due to confusion on which government was responsible fordealing with disaster management when Greater New Orleans was hit bytyphoon Katrina. As a result, many people lost their lives (Jones78).
Thecost of governance in federalism government is costly. In federalismgovernment, there is the duplication of government officials becauseevery state has its own “small” government. For that reason,there are a high number of government officials who are paid throughthe limited fund that a country collects from its citizen as a tax.
Finally,federalism encourages conflicts, unhealthy competition, and rivalrybetween states (Harrisonet. al 45).Since federalism encourages states to formulate policies that arebeneficial to them, some may be selfish and formulate policies thatare detrimental to other states. Similarly, citizens of some statesmay become rebellious, as they demand similar policies as theirneighbors. For example, a region that practices industrialization canformulate pollution policies that can negatively affect anotherregion that practices agriculture.
Basedon the above arguments, the advantages of federalism outweigh itsdisadvantages. Even with it disadvantages, I would recommend anon-federal state to endorse federalism. Furthermore, the federalgovernment has worked for hundreds of years and over twenty-fivecountries have successfully used it. It perfectly works for largecountries with people with different values, culture, andexpectations. United States and Canada are good example of countrieswhere federal government has been successful. Federal governmentresults to disparity inequality and participation, encouragesdiversity, increase citizen participation, manages conflicts,enhances political stability, improves efficiency, and ensuresseparation of powers between the national and the state government.Overall, the federal government stands out.
Harrison,Trevor, and John W. Friesen. CanadianSociety in the Twenty-First Century: An Historical and SociologicalApproach., 2015. Print.
Jones,Glen A., ed. Highereducation in Canada: Different systems, different perspectives.Vol. 1099. Routledge, 2012.
Smith,Graham. :the multiethnic challenge.Routledge, 2014.