Why Constitutions Matter

Első borító
Niclas Berggren, Nils Karlson, Joakim Nergelius
Transaction Publishers - 291 oldal

As countries in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries change from colonialist to independent rule, or from a socialist to a democratic society, the need for a written constitution becomes apparent. Countries in the former Soviet Union, Africa, or nations once part of the British Empire face social, economic, and humanitarian problems as they experiment with democratic rule. Such issues as clearly defining where sovereignty lies, how much power is given to the people, and what rights are possessed by a nation's citizenry are new to these countries. While a constitution, being a man-made document, is subject to interpretation and does not always delineate in a lucid framework its parameters for future generations, it is clear that constitutions do matter.

This volume, compiled under the direction of the City University of Stockholm, is an important study on the significance of constitutions and constitutional law in a democratic society. A number of scholars in law, political science, and economics have contributed to this volume. They include: James Buchanan, Aleksander Peczenik, Mats Lundstrom, Joakim Nergelius, Sverker Hard, Niclas Berggren, Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, Wolfgang Kasper, and Erik Moberg. All add to the understanding of the intertwining roles of politics and the social sciences in a modern democratic state.

They explore why a constitution is essential; the relationship between a constitution and a rational political system; the democratic principle of majority rule; why constitutional constraints are needed in a democratic state; recent constitutional reforms in the United Kingdom; the electoral system and its centrality in a democracy; evolution in constitutional change; competition within a federal structure; and the connection between politics and economics. Why Constitutions Matter is a fascinating and timely study of constitutionalism, and will be of interest to students of politics, law, economics, and sociology.

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22. oldal - In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
34. oldal - Among the essential features of this situation is that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength and the like.
109. oldal - The principle of parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely, that Parliament thus defined has, under the English Constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognized by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.
35. oldal - The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or the contingency of social circumstances.
20. oldal - The essential characteristic of consociational democracy is not so much any particular institutional arrangement as the deliberate joint effort by the elites to render the system functional and stable. The key element is what Dahrendorf has termed a cartel of elites...
36. oldal - An act is wrong if its performance under the circumstances would be disallowed by any system of rules for the general regulation of behaviour which no one could reasonably reject as a basis for informed, unforced general agreement.
241. oldal - A constitution is federal if (1) two levels of government rule the same land and people, (2) each level has at least one area of action in which it is autonomous, and (3) there is some guarantee (even though merely a statement in the constitution) of the autonomy of each government in its own sphere.
20. oldal - Even in traditional constitutional pluralist democracies there is an acceptance that certain 'high stake' decisions, such as constitutional amendments, require 'super majorities' or other mechanisms which would be more inclusive of minorities. Consociationalism rejects the democratic legitimacy of permanent minorityship which is possible, even likely, for a fragmented polity operating a pluralist, majoritarian election and voting system. Consociationalism seems, thus, to enhance legitimacy in its...
100. oldal - persuasive definition' the term defined is a familiar one, whose meaning is both descriptive and strongly emotive. The purport of the definition is to alter the descriptive meaning of the term, usually by giving it greater precision within the boundaries of its customary vagueness; but the definition does not make any change in the term's emotive meaning.
275. oldal - And a federal system may offer some real opportunities for encouraging such experimentation and thereby promoting "technical progress" in public policy. This point was made long ago by James Bryce (1888) who, in his insightful study of the US system of government, observed that "Federalism enables a people to try experiments which could not safely be tried in a large centralized country

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