Other Forms of Government

Other Forms of Government. Previews article we discuss different type of government like cabinet government, presidential, federal, and unitary government, Now we discus other type of government .

Confederate Government :

Confederate government may be defined as a system in which each member state of a confederation retains its own sovereignty and has such form of government as it chooses, there being a common central organization only,  or mainly, for their mutual support and defense. Whereas federal government is a dual system under a common sovereignty, in a Confederacy (the term “confederation” is sometimes prefer red) there are as many sovereignties as there are states forming, the confederation.

There is no such division of power between the confederation and the component member states as exists in a federal union. There may be a central government, but if so it is usually created by treaty or articles of agreement among the confederated states rather than by a constitution and it is merely the agent of the member states for the performance of a few services in their name. It usually lacks executive and judicial machinery and in the place of a lawmaking organ it has a congress or diet composed of delegates Whose functions more nearly resemble those of diplomatic plenipotentiaries than legislators with lawmaking mandates.

This congress may pass resolutions but ordinarily it has no real power of binding legislation. Such resolutions are addressed not to the individuals who make up the population but rather to the confederated states themselves and reach the individuals for Whom they are intended only mediately and indirectly, through the medium of the state organizations.

A confederacy in reality has no citizens or subjects who owe it direct and immediate allegiance. Its competence generally includes only such matters as relate to foreign relations, defensive war, and possibly a few matters of an interstate character. Usually it possesses no power over the sources of its own revenue, but is dependent upon the voluntary contributions of the confederated States.

Finally, it lacks stability and permanence, and its existence is precarious, since it belongs to the component members to withdraw from the confederation at will or refuse to be bound by its acts and resolutions. It is a transitory form of political organization which usually develops into the federal system or dissolves into its constituent elements.

Bureaucratic Government :

Some governments viewed from the standpoint of their spirit, their methods, and the professional character of their administrative personnel, have been described as “bureaucracies.” Strictly speaking, a bureaucratic government is one which is carried on largely by ministerial bureaus and in which important policies are determined and decisions rendered by the administrative chiefs of such bureaus.

In a wider sense, it means any government the administrative functionaries of which are professionally trained for the public service, and who generally enjoy permanency of tenure, promotion within the service being partly by seniority and ,partly by merit. In such a system the government service is a profession and offers a career to those who enter it.

Usually there are developed among such a body of functionaries an esprit de corps and a spirit of discipline somewhat similar to those found in a regular army. Naturally also they tend to develop a spirit of caste and to become a class separate and apart from the non-official part of the population.

Government as carried on by such a class is apt to be characterized by an excessive formalism and tends to overemphasize administrative routine rather than fundamental principles-in short, it tends, as Burke remarked, to think more of form than of substance. The most extreme example of a bureaucracy which the world has seen in modern times, perhaps, was that which existed in Prussia from 1720 to 1808.

A bureaucracy of a less absolute character was that which existed in France under Napoleon for a time after 1808. In varying degrees of development this form of government exists today in most of the states of Europe, especially in Germany and Austria, and to a less degree in England and France. Commonly thought of only in connection with monarchical states, its forms and methods, and to some extent its spirit, are nevertheless found in the governmental systems of many republican states as well.

In France today one hears much complaint of what are in reality the methods of a bureaucracy. There the government of the country is, as stated above, extremely centralized, mainly in Paris, but also in the capitals of the departments  inevitably there is an enormous congestion of administrative work in both the ministries and the prefectures.

Thousands of questions pour in from all points of the Republic for decision or solution, involving matters which in the United States would be settled by the local authorities who alone are really interested or affected. In the departments the communal budgets must be approved by the prefect. In some of the larger ones as many as 500 such budgets may be laid before him for his approval.

Under such circumstances decision in these and many other matters which require his approval, must in fact rest with administrative subordinates in the prefecture, The decision by the subordinate at the bottom of the hierarchy must be examined and passed upon by a succession of superiors up to the minister or the prefect.

Naturally the machinery moves at a speed, the slowness of which tries the patience of everybody concerned, and not infrequently years pass before the most trifling matters are finally disposed of Reports, counter reports, memoirs, recommendations, decisions follow one another in bewildering profusion until the papers and documents relating to a particular matter attain the height of a small mountain.

Nevertheless, bureaucratic government in the wider sense referred to is not without its merits. It is government by persons who have been especially trained for the work in which they are engaged. They possess the skill and capacity which are acquired from permanency of tenure and experience.

It is consequently likely to be more efficient than the service of functionaries without. training, who are appointed without regard to their ability to perform the work with which they are charged, and who soon retire and make room for others who are equally untrained. It accumulates experience, says Mill, acquires well-tried and well considered traditional maxims, and makes provision for appropriate practical knowledge in those who have the actual conduct of affairs.

Popular Government :

Contra distinguished from bureaucratic government is what is sometimes vaguely called popular government, that is government by persons who are drawn at regular intervals from the ranks of the people, many of them by popular election, and who after a brief tenure return to private life. Generally they are without special training not infrequently they serve without pecuniary compensation and often they are during the term of their public service engaged in other occupations.

Under such a system most of the offices are, open to all without preliminary preparation or examination, few or no professional qualifications are required, and the official class never develops a caste system or loses touch with the people. It is more or less influenced by public Opinion, and in the discharge of its duties is more often subject to legislative than administrative control.

Individualistic and Paternalistic Government :

Finally, from the point of view of their functions and sphere of activity, governments may be denominated as individualistic and paternal. A government of the former type is one whose activities are limited mainly to the simple police functions of maintaining the peace, order, and security of society, internal and external, and the protection of private rights.

A paternal government is one whose functions are not limited merely to restraining wrongdoing and to protecting private rights, but which goes farther and undertakes to promote by various means the social well-being of the people.

It undertakes to perform for society many services which might be performed as easily through private initiative, on the ground that they can be more efficiently and economically done by the government than by private individuals. Such a government may own and operate various industries, engage in business enterprises, provide pensions for the old, the sick, and the infirm, and in other various ways care for the social interests of the people.