Constitutional wonk fodder Re: [LMB] Governments, was Washington, PA

alayne at alayne at
Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:29:04 -0400 (EDT)

Paula brings up questions of strong vs weak central governments:

A lot of this relates to the problems of revising constitutions (or
equivalent division-of-powers documents) as conditions changes and
governments' tasks and sources of income change.

One of the important considerations is "residual powers" -- do the central
or the provincial governments get those powers/taxation sources/areas of
jurisdiction not foreseen in the original document. Another is "national
standards". Another is changes in the expected tasks of governments:
originally health may have been strictly private, then it became a
governmental responsibility. Another is costs of providing the services:
have they increased more than the commensurate taxing powers?

And the fact is, of course, that in most nations it is effectively
impossible to change the constitution because of entrenched interests
(this affects much more than the U.S.).

Barrayar, being an Imperium without a written constitution (presumably it
does have Common Law?), should have substantially more flexibility in
moving with the times. Of course, it still requires a strong leader to do

I wonder about Beta: it certainly has a Bill of Rights; does it have a
written constitution as well?

Alayne McGregor
alayne at

"I don't believe you heal from horror and evil. You deal with it, cope with
it, pledge to do better. You try to learn and try to be more morally
courageous. Healing is an inappropriate word. Some sores are best left open
so that we don't forget, so that we learn and remember." -- Tim O'Brien