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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the liberal state in transformation « Previous | |Next »
August 6, 2011

If we step behind the party politics of liberal democracy we can see that the liberal state is being historically transformed in both the relations between the three parts of the liberal state (the executive, the legislature/parliament, and the judiciary), and between the state (especially the executive branch) and the citizens, with the latter losing rights and entitlements.

As is well known, the executive has become by far the most powerful branch of the government: it has amassed undemocratic powers, become highly secretive, is increasingly a form of privatised power and has gained added control over public administration.

In contrast, the legislature, which was never strong, has lost much of its power. Today the executive essentially controls and uses the legislature. It is increasingly rare for the legislature to make new laws. And citizens have been losing “little rights” for the last decade, a process accelerated by the “anti-terrorism” legislation and the increasing surveillance.

These shifts are no anomaly. They are systemic shifts that transcend party politics. Liberalism is being replaced with neoliberalism--- eg., liberal democratic regimes are neo-liberalizing their social policies; whilst the strengthening of the market sphere--- a greater autonomy--- allows powerful economic actors, notably global firms, to act as informal political agents eg,. the big miners.

The consequence is that these firms can bring their power to bear on the policies of nation-states – they get reoriented, away from historically defined national aims towards denationalized global aims. They eat away at the central authority of the nation-state and the architecture of liberal participatory democracy. This realignment weakens the capacity of citizens to demand accountability from the executive

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:16 PM |