My daydreaming about the future political system of Myanmar

My daydreaming about the future political system of Myanmar

Source: Various articls in Wikipedia

The origin of the State is to be found in the development of the art of warfare. Historically speaking, there is not the slightest difficulty in proving that all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to successful warfare. As a result the new states are forced to organize on military principles. The life of the new community is military allegiance.

Kingship is perhaps the most successful institution of politics. However, the first kings were not institutions but individuals. The earliest kings were successful militarily. They were men not only of great military genius but also great administrators. Kingship becomes an institution through heredity.

The king rules his kingdom with the aid of his Council; without it he could not hold his territories. The Council is the king’s master mind. The Council is the germ of constitutional government. Long before the council became a bulwark of democracy, it rendered invaluable aid to the institution of kingship by:

  1. Preserving the institution of kingship through heredity.
  2. Preserving the traditions of the social order.
  3. Being able to withstand criticism as an impersonal authority.
  4. Being able to manage a greater deal of knowledge and action than a single individual such as the king.

A conqueror wages war upon the vanquished for vengeance or for plunder but an established kingdom exacts tribute. One of the functions of the Council is to keep the coffers of the king full. Another is the satisfaction of military service and the establishment of lordships by the king to satisfy the task of collecting taxes and soldiers.

As a military institution, the State is concerned with the allegiance of its subjects as disloyalty is a risk to its national security. Thus arises the law of treason. Criminal acts in general, breaking the peace and treason make up the whole of criminal law enforced by the State.

When the voice of the individual can be heard, the danger of arbitrary interference by the State is greatly reduced.

Generally speaking, no form of government could be considered the best if the best is considered to be the one that is most appropriate under the circumstances.

  • All States are varieties of a single type, the sovereign State.
  • All the Great Powers of the modern world rule on the principle of sovereignty.
  • Sovereign power may be vested on an individual as in an autocratic government or it may be vested on a group as in a constitutional government.

Constitutions are written documents that specify and limit the powers of the different branches of government.

  • Although a Constitution is a written document, there is also an unwritten Constitution.
  • The unwritten constitution is continually being written by the Legislative branch of government; this is just one of those cases in which the nature of the circumstances determines the form of government that is most appropriate.
  • Nevertheless, the written constitution is essential.

There are two forms of government,

  • one a strong central government as in France
  • and the other a local government such as the ancient divisions in England that is comparatively weaker but less bureaucratic.

These two forms helped to shape the federal government, first in Switzerland, then in the United States in 1776, in Canada in 1867 and in Germany in 1870 and in the 20th century, Australia. The Federal States introduced the new principle of agreement or contract.

According to professor A. V. Dicey in An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, the essential features of a federal constitution are:

  1. A written supreme constitution in order to prevent disputes between the jurisdictions of the Federal and State authorities; 
  2. A distribution of power between the Federal and State governments and
  3. A Supreme Court vested with the power
    1. to interpret the Constitution
    2. and enforce the law of the land
    3. remaining independent of both the executive and legislative branches.
    4. The meaning of left-wing and right-wing varies considerably between different countries and at different times, but generally speaking, it can be said that _

      A. the right wing often values tradition and social stratification while

      B. the left wing often values reform and egalitarianism,

      C. with the center seeking a balance between the two such as with social democracy or regulated capitalism.

Authoritarianism and libertarianism refer to the amount of individual freedom each person possesses in that society relative to the state. One author describes

  1. authoritarian political systems as those where “individual rights and goals are subjugated to group goals, expectations and conformities”,[23]
  2. while libertarians generally oppose the state and hold the individual and his property as sovereign.

In their purest form,

  • libertarians are anarchists, who argue for the total abolition of the state,
  • while the purest authoritarians are totalitarians who support state control over all aspects of society.

For instance, classical liberalism (also known as laissez-faire liberalism,[24] or, in much of the world, simply liberalism) is

  1. a doctrine stressing individual freedom and limited government.
  2. This includes the importance of human rationality,
  3. individual property rights,
  4. the protection of civil liberties,
  5. constitutional limitation of government,
  6. and individual freedom from restraint

as exemplified in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, David Ricardo, Voltaire, Montesquieu and others. According to the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, “the libertarian, or ‘classical liberal,’ perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by ‘as much liberty as possible’ and ‘as little government as necessary.'”

Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it. William Pitt the Elder

It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. Aung San Suu Kyi

Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties.

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and trafficking, it is not restricted to these activities.

Welfare state From Wikipedia

A welfare state is a concept of government where the state plays the primary role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The general term may cover a variety of forms of economic and social organization.[1]

There are two main interpretations of the idea of a welfare state:

  • A model in which the state assumes primary responsibility for the welfare of its citizens. This responsibility in theory ought to be comprehensive, because all aspects of welfare are considered and universally applied to citizens as a “right”.
  • Welfare state can also mean the creation of a “social safety net” of minimum standards of varying forms of welfare.

There is some confusion between a “welfare state” and a “welfare society,” and debate about how each term should be defined. In many countries, especially in the United States, some degree of welfare is not actually provided by the state, but directly to welfare recipients from a combination of independent volunteers, corporations (both non-profit charitable corporations as well as for-profit corporations), and government services. This phenomenon has been termed a “welfare society,” and the term “welfare system” has been used to describe the range of welfare state and welfare society mixes that are found.[2] The welfare state involves a direct transfer of funds from the public sector to welfare recipients, but indirectly, the private sector is often contributing those funds via redistributionist taxation; the welfare state has been referred to as a type of “mixed economy“.

Critics of the welfare state argue that such a system will make citizens dependent on the system and less inclined to work. However, certain studies indicate there is no association between economic performance and welfare expenditure in developed countries,[20] and that there is no evidence for the contention that welfare states impede progressive social development. R. E. Goodin et al., in The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism,[21] compares the United States, which spends relatively little on social welfare (less than 17 percent of GDP), with other countries which spend considerably more. This study claims that on some economic and social indicators the United States performs worse than the Netherlands, which has a high commitment to welfare provision.

However, the United States, until the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 which brought a significant fall in GDP, led most welfare states on certain economic indicators, such as GDP per capita, with the notable exception of Scandinavian countries, where Norway for example has significantly higher GDP per capita.[22] Until the recession of 2008 brought about a significant rise in unemployment in the USA, the United States also had a low unemployment rate and a high GDP growth rate, at least in comparison to other developed countries (its growth rate, however, is lower than many welfare states which grow from a lower base and may benefit from recent economic liberalizations, further U.S. GDP per capita is sometimes 20-30% higher than that of welfare states).[22] The United States also had led some welfare states in the ownership of consumer goods. For example, compared to some welfare states, it has more TVs per capita,[23] more personal computers per capita,[24] and more radios per capita.[25].

Socialists criticize welfare state programs as concessions made by the capitalist class in order to divert the working class and middle class away from wanting to pursue a completely new socialist organization of the economy and society, for which it had been historically used in Germany by Bismarck along with his anti-socialist laws. Furthermore, socialists believe social programs are an attempt to “patch up” the ineffective capitalist market economy, therefore only treating the symptoms rather than the cause. By implementing public or cooperative ownership of the means of production, socialists believe there will be no need for a welfare state.[26] Marxists further argue that welfare states and modern social democratic policies limit the incentive system of the market by providing things such as minimum wages, unemployment insurance, taxing profits and reducing the reserve army of labor, resulting in capitalists have little incentive to invest; in essence, social welfare policies cripple the capitalist system and its incentive system, the only solution being a socialist economic system.[27]

Another criticism characterizes welfare as theft of property or forced labor (i.e. slavery). This criticism is based upon the classical liberal human right to obtain and own property, wherein every human being owns his body, and owns the product of his body’s labor (i.e. goods, services, land, or money). It follows that the removal of money by any state or government mechanism from one person to another is argued to be theft of the former person’s property or a requirement to perform forced labor for the benefit of others, and thus is a violation of his property rights or his liberty, even if the mechanism was legally established by a democratically elected assembly.[citation needed] In April, 2010, the Associated Press reported that 47% of US households will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009.[28] In his book, The Servile State, English political writer Hilaire Belloc makes his case for the natural instability of pure capitalism and discusses how (as he believes) attempts to reform capitalism will lead almost inexorably to an economy where state regulation has removed the freedom of capitalism and thereby replaced capitalism with what he calls the Servile State. According to Belloc, the Servile State shares with ancient slavery the fact that positive law (as opposed to custom or economic necessity by themselves) dictates that certain people will work for others, who likewise must take care of them. Ergo, according to Belloc, the welfare state may leads to a kind of serfdom where one group works to support another group that does not work.

A third criticism is that the welfare state allegedly provides its dependents with a similar level of income to the minimum wage. Critics argue that fraud and economic inactivity are apparently quite common now in the United Kingdom and France[citation needed]. Some conservatives in the UK claim that the welfare state has produced a generation of dependents who, instead of working, rely solely upon the state for income and support; even though assistance is only legally available to those unable to work. The welfare state in the UK was created to provide certain people with a basic level of benefits in order to alleviate poverty, but that as a matter of opinion has been expanded to provide a larger number of people with more money than the country can ideally afford. Some feel that this argument is demonstrably false: the benefits system in the UK provides individuals with considerably less money than the national minimum wage, although people on welfare often find that they qualify for a variety of benefits, including benefits in-kind, such as accommodation costs which usually make the overall benefits much higher than basic figures show.[29][30]

A fourth criticism of the welfare state is that it results in high taxes. This is usually true, as evidenced by places like Denmark (tax level at 48.9% of GDP in 2007)[31] and Sweden (tax level at 48.2% of GDP in 2007)[31].

A fifth criticism of the welfare state is the belief that welfare services provided by the state are more expensive and less efficient than the same services would be if provided by private businesses. In 2000, Professors Louis Kaplow and Steven Shafell published two papers, arguing that any social policy based on such concepts as justice or fairness would result in an economy which is Pareto inefficient. Anything which is supplied free at the point of consumption would be subject to artificially high demand, whereas resources would be more properly allocated if provision reflected the cost.

The most extreme criticisms of states and governments are made by anarchists, who believe that all states and governments are undesirable and/or unnecessary. Some socialist anarchists believe that while social welfare gives a certain level of independency from the market and individual capitalists, it creates dependence to the state, which is the institution that, according to this view, supports and protects capitalism in the first place. Nonetheless, according to Noam Chomsky, “social democrats and anarchists always agreed, fairly generally, on so-called ‘welfare state measures'” and “Anarchists propose other measures to deal with these problems, without recourse to state authority.”[32] Some socialist anarchists believe in stopping welfare programs only if it means abolishing government and capitalism as well.

Welfare provision in the contemporary world tends to be more advanced in countries with stronger developed economies. Poor countries tend to have limited resources for social services. There is very little correlation between economic performance and welfare expenditure.

Social safety net

From Wikipedia Social Safety Nets, or “socioeconomic safety nets”, are non-contributory transfer programs seeking to prevent the poor or those vulnerable to shocks and poverty from falling below a certain poverty level. Safety net programs can be provided by the public sector (the State and aid donors) or by the private sector (NGOs, private firms, charities, and informal household transfers). Safety net transfers include:

  • Cash transfers
  • Food-based programs such as supplementary feeding programs and food stamps, vouchers, and coupons
  • In-kind transfers such as school supplies and uniforms
  • Conditional cash transfers
  • Price subsidies for food, electricity, or public transport
  • Public works
  • Fee waivers and exemptions for health care, schooling and utilities

On average, spending on safety nets accounts for 1 to 2 percent of GDP across developing and transition countries,[1] though sometimes much less or much more. In the last decade, a visible growing expertise in various areas of safety nets has taken place. However, even though an increasing number of safety net programs are extremely well thought out, correctly implemented, and demonstrably effective, many others face – and create – serious challenges.

Safety nets are part of a broader poverty reduction strategy interacting with and working alongside of social insurance; health, education, and financial services; the provision of utilities and roads; and other policies aimed at reducing poverty and managing risk.

Safety net programs can play four roles in development policy:-

  • Safety nets redistribute income to the poorest and most vulnerable, with an immediate impact on poverty and inequality
  • Safety nets enable households to make productive investments in their future that they may otherwise miss, e.g. education, health, income generating opportunities
  • Safety nets help households manage risk, at least offsetting harmful coping strategies and at most providing an insurance function which improves livelihood options
  • Safety nets allow governments to make choices that support efficiency and growth[1]

The safety net as a whole should provide coverage to three rather different groups:-

The chronic poor

Even in “good times” these households are poor. They have limited access to income and the instruments to manage risk, and even small reductions in income can have dire consequences for them.

The transient poor

This group lives near the poverty line, and may fall into poverty when an individual household or the economy as a whole faces hard times.

Those with special circumstances

Sub-groups of the population for whom general stability and prosperity alone will not be sufficient. Their vulnerability may stem from disability, discrimination due to ethnicity, displacement due to conflict, “social pathologies” of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or crime. These groups may need special programs to help them attain a sufficient standard of well-being.

The main objective of fee waivers, exemptions, and scholarships is to provide poor people with the financial resources to use public services such as education and health facilities.[1] These systems are targeted to a pre-determined group of people that would not have access to these services otherwise. These are relatively recent programs that were implemented in Africa in the latter part of the 1990s, counterbalancing the negative effects on the poor of the introduction of fees in the health and education sectors in the 1980s.

Fee waivers and exemptions for health care enable the poor to obtain free health care even when fees are charged. Exemptions are granted to everyone for defined services and allow people to receive free prenatal care, immunizations, and treatment for tuberculosis. By contrast fee waivers are granted to some individuals, usually for specific health care activities which also account for the bulk of charges even though they may only account for a minority of interactions with the health care system.

Fee waivers and scholarships for schooling include stipends, education vouchers, targeted bursaries, and interventions related to tuition and textbooks. Benefits range from covering the direct costs of uniforms, books, or transport, to compensating for the opportunity costs of students’ time. Programs may be complemented by grants to schools to ensure quality of education.

Most developing countries spend 1 to 2 percent of their GDP on safety nets. If countries wish to increase their spending on safety nets, they can reallocate expenditures, raise taxes, obtain aid grants, or borrow. Reallocation of funds from less important items is preferable. If taxes are to be raised, the government must pay attention to the economic and political costs. If international grants are to be used, the government and donors should ensure that funding flows are stable and that procedures are conducive to building capacity. Debt finance is appropriate when programs benefit future generations by raising their productivity and consequently increasing future tax revenues, or during recessions.

Even where safety nets have a place within budgets, they may face financial constraints so tight that policy makers will have to make difficult decisions about how to allocate money insufficient to meet needs. In response, there are three approaches that may be taken in different combinations:

  • Keep the role of safety nets small relative to possible needs. Benefits may be limited to only a portion of the poor by defining specific subcategories of individuals, by using an eligibility threshold well below the poverty line, or by only providing seasonal benefits.
  • Ensure complementarities with building physical and human capital. This helps the poor survive today and will reduce the causes of poverty in future years.
  • In very low-income countries, international assistance may be used to finance social assistance. In fact there is an increasing willingness on the part of donors and countries to use aid in such ways.
  • Safety nets in low-income countries are increasingly being recognized as effective tools to reach out to the most vulnerable. At their worst, they protect households facing hard times from falling into deeper poverty and help them manage risk by allowing them to maintain assets on which their livelihoods are based. At their best, they can provide households with a cushion to invest resources more efficiently and effectively in human capital. Common interventions vary from public works and food-based interventions to more recently cash and conditional cash transfer programs. Low-income states may face institutional capacity and financial constraints.
  • Safety nets in middle-income countries may aspire to cover all target groups although they tend to focus on helping the chronically poor. Individual programs may be sophisticated, but sophistication may not have spread to all programs in the country. Evidence suggests that they possess strong track record progress in design and implementation.
  • Safety nets in crisis contexts attempt to protect incomes and avoid irreversible losses of physical assets and human capital. They also help maintain political consensus around the policies needed to resolve crises (financial, fuel, food). Scaling up programs quickly is difficult, so some compromises with respect to targeting, incentive compatibility, and accountability may be needed.
  • Safety nets after natural disasters help households avoid irreversible losses that could ensue. Effective safety nets should be seen as a complement to larger efforts to protect livelihoods and undertake reconstruction and recovery. Countries with existing programs that they can modify will be better placed to deliver safety nets after natural disasters. They may need to adjust procedures during the response.
  • Safety nets to facilitate reforms can help compensate the poor for any losses suffered as a result of reforms such as abolishing subsidies. These may also promote the political tolerance required for reforms to take place. Some programs with a temporary political goal may be at a scale that is too large to sustain. Others with a clearer poverty focus may be meant to be permanent, and so must be designed to be sustainable.

Nanny state

From Wikipedia Nanny state is used to reference a state of protectionism, economic interventionism, or regulatory policies (of economic, social or other nature), and the perception that these policies are becoming institutionalized as common practice. Opponents of such policies use the term in their advocacy against what they consider as uninvited and damaging state intervention.

The term nanny state was probably coined by the Conservative British MP Iain Macleod who referred to “what I like to call the nanny state” in his column “Quoodle” in the December 3, 1965, edition of The Spectator.[1]

The term nanny state is often used as a pejorative term for the welfare state Besides having the objective of insurance against risks and hazards of life, the welfare state often has a goal of social justice through some complex mechanisms of redistribution of wealth.

Usage of the term varies by political context, but in general nanny state is used in reference to policies where the state is perceived as being excessive in its desire to protect (as a nanny would protect a child), govern or control particular aspects of society. Which particular aspects are considered to be excessively protected depends on usage. The term can refer to:

For example, politically conservative or libertarian groups in the United States (especially those that support the free market and capitalism) object to excessive state action to protect people from the consequences of their actions by restricting citizen options.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Liberals on the other hand have used the term to describe the state as being excessive in its protections of businesses and the business class —protections ostensibly made against the public good, and the good of consumers. This usage applies to the international context as well, where the “public good” is used to refer to people in general, and where the state is viewed as being excessive in its protection of native business over foreign (rival) businesses

Some governance claimed to represent a nanny state are those that emerge from application of public health, risk management of health and safety policies. The European Commission has been criticised as acting like a nanny state by banning mercury in barometers as of June 2007.[3]

The British Labour Party politician Margaret Hodge is a defender of so-called nanny state policies, saying at a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research on November 26 , 2004, that “some may call it the nanny state but I call it a force for good”.[1]

Singapore

The city state of Singapore has a reputation as a nanny state, owing to the considerable number of government regulations and restrictions on its citizens’ lives. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, the architect of the modern Singapore, observed, “If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.”[4]

United Kingdom

In 2004, King’s Fund, an independent think tank, conducted a survey of more than 1,000 people and found that most favoured policies that combated behaviour such as eating a poor diet and public smoking.[5]

Initiatives created by individual organizations, especially schools, have sometimes been attributed by the British media as “nanny state” government policies from either the Westminster Parliament or the European Parliament: for example, the Health and Safety Executive describes the assertion they had banned conkers in schools as a classic myth;[6] and likewise, local government or business decisions, such as Great Somerford removing a swingset for exceeding EU height regulations by 20 inches (51 cm), have likewise been blamed as intervention by Brussels, although removal was not compulsory

 

 

 

 

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