Opposite Day: The fallacy of separation of powers

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James K

James is a government policy analyst, and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His interests including wargaming, computer gaming (especially RPGs and strategy games), Dungeons & Dragons and scepticism. No part of any of his posts or comments should be construed as the position of any part of the New Zealand government, or indeed any agency he may be associated with.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    The multiple centres of power create multiple centres of responsibility.  This actually makes government less accountable to the people, not more.

    This sounds right. The only question is whether this exacerbates democracy’s other problems. My feeling is that it doesnt. If the buck stopped with one person, then that person could continue getting re elected simply by guaranteeing results. There would be a direct link between votes and policy. This might ameliorate som amount of discourse failure. After all one aspect of discourse failure is a failure to understand the nuts and bolts of politics.Report

  2. I’m almost persuaded.  Certainly Hamish is exactly right about multiple centers* of power dividing responsibility to the point where government is functionally unaccountable.

    *If Hamish is JamesK’s evil twin, why does he still use the New Zealand spelling of “centre”?Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    My wife and I were recently in Washington D.C., and we were in the National Archives.  It was pretty interesting to look at the House-passed Bill of Rights.  Of particular interest to me was the original Sixteenth Amendment:  “The powers delegated by the Constitution to the government of the United States, shall be exercised as therein appropriated, so that the Legislative shall never exercise the powers vested in the Executive or Judicial; nor the Executive the powers vested in the Legislative or Judicial; nor the Judicial the powers vested in the Legislative or Executive.”  This was struck out in the Senate markups to the House-passed Bill.Report

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