February 09, 2017

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Top-down approach vs federal or presidential form of government

There are several theories of government as discussed by Jon Pierre and Guy Peters (2000). These theories are: traditional authority; autopoesis and network steering; cybernetics and steering or system theory; policy instruments; institutional analysis; national choice; network and policy communities or policy network theory; interpretive theory; and organization theory.
Among the aforesaid theories, the traditional authority theory will be dealt with. This approach generally refers to the ‘top down’ authority vested in the state. Here in this juncture, government as the legitimate embodiment of the general will, or the crown, or whatever the source of authority is assumed to be, the only source of governance in these models. Under this approach, law and coercion are viewed as the technique of governance, and any attempt to challenge or weaken the authority of the state is seen as an unacceptable usurpation of the state power. This traditional view of governance can also be seen as common in the communist states which talks about the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Some hierachicalists while discussing the constitutional norms of countries like the United Kingdom, refers to the unlimited power that the Queen enjoys in parliament. In the context of ‘new government’ scholars forward that it is the function of the deeply embedded conception power of the crown (the (government) in most Westminster systems. The traditional authority also refers to the legalistic conception of governing.
It is worth mentioning here in this juncture that a good elucidation can be Germany where the Rechtsstaat system, which refers to a law based state, and which is a core concept of German constitutional thinking, is central to the role of state in its tradition. It presumes acceptance of law and the capacity of the government to govern through law with only minimal opposition. The top-down approach is less compatible with the system in most of the small European state where there exists the history of compromise, coalition and conflict management. This meant that centralized directives are likely to be questioned. Similarly, the centralized top-down authority does not go as well with that of the federal or presidential form of government.


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