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A unitary state is a sovereign state governed as one single unit In a federation, public bodies are closer to regional problems

in which the central government is supreme and any than in a unitary state. There are no remote, forgotten
administrative divisions (subnational units) exercise only provinces.
powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Most Citizen-oriented action
states in the world have a unitary system of government. Citizens enjoy more rapid access to the public authorities. It is
easier for them to contact politicians and the public authorities
Advantages: Single, all decisive legislative and/or executive than in a unitary state with a remote and anonymous centre.
offices. Usually more efficient use of tax dollars (fewer people Competition
trying to get in on the money). Simpler management of an The states that make up a federation are always competing
economy. Smaller government. with one another, making them more vital. Exchange of
experience fosters progress and helps to avoid undesirable
Disadvantages: Single, all decisive legislative and/or executive developments at the national level.
offices. Little in the way of power balances. Slow government Balance
response (for instance no state national guard that could be Mutual control, reciprocal consideration and the need to seek
dispatched in an emergency, troops would have to be compromises prevent or at least hinder extreme positions.
mobilized from national authority). Easily looses track of local Federalism has a balancing and thus a stabilising effect.
issues. Is an incredibly divisive form of government (everyone Diversity
is forced to compete with everyone else for priority). Since its The division of the country into federal states or Lander
trying to take the place of federal and state governments, guarantees that many economic, political and cultural centres
unitary governments typical get bloated and bogged down. develop. This provides a more favourable environment to
Huge bureaucracy (yes even larger that what this country has). preserve and develop specific regional, historical, economic
and cultural features. This diversity can lead to more freedom.
There's two types, the first is the traditional unitary Disadvantages of a federal state compared with a unitary state
government. Simply all the authority resides at a national Lack of uniformity
level. The federal states' autonomy necessarily means there are
differences between the states. Diversity is the opposite of
The second is a "devolved government." There is more local uniformity. This can result in some difficulties, for instance,
authority, however the federal authority has the right to for school children if a family moves from one federal state to
override local decisions. This allows local authorities to another.
handle more of the mundane duties. Results in a smaller Complicated
federal government. The UK would be an example of a As decisions are taken in many different centres in the Federal
devolved government, minus the Queen. Republic,
A Unitary state is exactly the opposite of a federal state ... I and power is shared between the Federation and the Lnder, it
will here list the advantages and disadvantages of a federal: is essential that the various tiers of government co-operate and
show consideration for each other. The different bodies that
Advantages of a federal state compared with a unitary hold power exercise mutual oversight and function in a
state checks-and-balances system. This interweaving of
Distribution of power responsibility is complex and sometimes hard for citizens to
In a federation, the classical horizontal division of the powers understand
of state (legislative - executive - judicial) is complemented by Time-consuming
a vertical division of power between the state as a whole and The parliaments, governments and administrations of the
the individual member states. Distribution of power ensures Federation and the federal states have to wait for initiatives,
that there are checks and balances, helping to prevent abuse of decisions or consent from each other and engage in lengthy
power. negotiations in order to arrive at joint solutions. This can be a
time-consuming process.
More democracy Costly
Sub-division into smaller political units makes state action Running individual parliaments, governments and
clearer and more comprehensible, thus fostering active administrations in the Federation and the Lnder is considered,
participation and co-deter-mination. Furthermore, each citizen on the whole, to be more expensive than maintaining the
has two opportunities to exer-ci-se the most fundamental corresponding bodies in a unitary state. It is debatable whether
democratic right, namely the right to vote; in a federation, this is indeed a valid assumption, because Lnder institutions
elections are held both for the national parliament and for the could not simply be closed down in a unitary state, but would
parliaments of the individual member states. have to be replaced. Federal institutions would certainly have
Leadership opportunities to be expanded and mammoth centralised bodies might not
Political parties have more opportunities to hold power and ultimately prove to be cheaper.
competition between parties is encouraged, as they can
exercise political responsibility in the individual member
states even if they are in the minority nationally. This gives
parties an opportunity to test and prove their capacity for What is federal government?
leadership by offering them a chance to demonstrate how they In federal states, the federal government is the government at
perform once elected. the level of the nation-state. The structure of central
Proximity to tasks governments varies from institution to institution. By
delegating powers from the central government to In a unitary government, the power is held by one central
governments at a sub national level, an autonomous region is authority but in a federal government, the power is divided
created by many countries. Based on a broad definition of a between national government or federal government and local
basic political system, there are two or more levels of governments or states government.
government that exist within an established territory and
govern through common institutions with overlapping or Federal government
shared powers as prescribed by a constitution or other law. has multiple hierarchy levels, with both the central authority
and the states (or provinces) both being sovereign.
As a basics, the central government has the power to make and the central or national rules override the state rules has a
enforece laws for the whole country which are in contrast with balance between them. For example are the U.S shared
local government. The usual responsibilities of the central between national and local levels. In a federal form of
government which are not granted to lower levels of government, the term "federal" is also used to refer to the
government are maintaining national security and exercising national level of government.
international diplomacy, including the right to sign binding
treaties. Unitary government
there is no hierarchy of sovereign powers.
In general, the difference between a central government and a
states have no authority to pass their own laws, and the central
federal central government is that the autonomous statuses of
or national govt can order the states to do anything.
self-governing regions exists by the sufferance of the central
government and are often created through a process of the federal government has a huge percentage of the power.
devolution. It is common for a federal central government to For example are the Japan
be brought into being by agreement between a number of
formally independent states and therefore its powers to affect What are the advantages and disadvantages to a unitary system
the status of the balance of powers is significantly smaller. For as a form of government?
example are the United States of America.
A unitary government is a government where the vast majority
of authority is held by the federal government.
What is unitary government?
When the central government possesses much authority and Advantages
decision-making power, it is called the unitary government. The advantages of unitary government are it is single and
The local governing bodies simply serve as administrative decisive legislative. Usually it is more efficient in the used of
arms of the central government. For an example of a unitary tax dollars but fewer people trying to get in on the money. It is
government are the Great Britain which is a familiar example also has a simple management of an economy and the
of a unitary government; individual British counties have little government are smaller.
of the power commonly exercised by American states. France
also has a unitary form of government where by it has 90 Disadvantages
departments grouped into 36 provinces. It is important, The disadvantages of using this type of system are it has slow
however, to note that unitary governments are not inherently government response. For example, there are no state National
less democratic than other forms. Guard that could be dispatched in emergency, troops would
have to be mobilized from national authority. It is also easily
Power is distributed completely opposite of a unitary loses track of local issues. Other than that, it is incredibly
government in a confederate government. Local governments divisive form of government where everyone is forced to
protect and preserve their own authority by forming a weak compete with everyone else for priority. Since it is trying to
central government. take the place of federal and state governments, the unitary
governments typical get bloated and bogged down. Finally, it
In a federal government, power is split between a central has huge bureaucracy that is even larger than what this
government authority and its constituent states. Usually, a country has.
constitution allocates duties, rights, and privileges to each
level of government. The constitution usually defines how What are the Advantages and the disadvantages of
power is shared between national, state, and local Federalism?
governments; the power to amend this constitution is usually Advantages of Federalism
granted to the citizens or their governmental representatives. Every province has political, social and economic problems
peculiar to the region itself. Provincial government
There are two basic categories in which governments are representatives live in close proximity to the people and are
classified according to a decision making. In a totalitarian most of the times from the same community, so that they are
government, the power of rulers is not limited by outside in a better position to understand these problems and offer
forces, such as elections or public opinion. Totalitarian unique solutions for them. For example, traffic congestion in
systems also restrict personal freedom in most cases. Oahu, Hawaii is a problem that can be best solved by the local
government, keeping local factors in mind, rather than by
How does unitary government differ from a federal somebody living in New York.
Federalism offers representation to different populations. It also can make the state governments selfish and concerned
Citizens of various provinces may have different aspirations, only about their own region's progress. They can formulate
ethnicity and follow different cultures. The central government policies which might be detrimental to other regions. For
can sometimes overlook these differences and adopt policies example, pollution from a province which is promoting
which cater to the majority. This is where the regional industrialization in a big way can affect another region which
government steps in. While formulating policies, local needs, depends solely on agriculture and cause crop damage.
tastes and opinions are given due consideration by the state
governments. Rights of the minorities are protected too. For Finally, it does not eliminate poverty. Even in New York, there
example, in states like Arizona where there is a large Hispanic are poor neighborhoods like Harlem with a majority of black
population and therefore, a large number of schools provide population. The reason for this may be that during policy
bilingual education. framing, it is the intellectuals and not the masses who are
invited by the local government.

State governments have the freedom to adopt policies which Federalism: Its Advantages and Disadvantages
may not be followed nationally or by any other state. For
example, same sex marriages are not recognized by the federal First what is federalism? Federalism is defining as the
government of USA but they are given legal status within the allocation of power between the national government and
states of Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts. regional government. A system of government in which the
power is divided between a central authority and constituent
Division of work between the central and the regional political units. Is it advisable for a country like us to adapt this
governments leads to optimum utilization of resources. The kind of government?
central government can concentrate more on international
affairs and defense of the country while the provincial According to Jose Abueva, former president of University of
government can cater to the local needs. the Philippines and a professor of public and administration
we should take federal kind of government. He said that the
Federalism has room for innovation and experimentation. Two Philippines would take a period of no less than 10 years to
local governments can have two different approaches to bring make a successful transition to federalism, involving a period
reforms in any area of public domain, be it taxation or of consolidation of several regions and intensive
education. The comparison of the results of these policies can socioeconomic development in each of consolidated regions.
give a clear idea of which policy is better and thus, can be Advantages of federal government are the following: (1) It
adopted in the future. ensures that government remains close to the people because
the state government argue that they are more in tune with the
Disadvantages of Federalism daily needs and aspirations of people especially relevant to
Sharing of power between the Center and the states includes small and isolated places. (2) It encourages development of
both advantages and disadvantages of federation. Sometimes the nation in a decentralized and regional manner and allows
there can be overlapping of work and subsequent confusion for unique and innovative methods for attacking social,
regarding who is responsible for what. For example, when economic and political problems. (3) It provides a barrier to
typhoon Katrina hit Greater New Orleans, USA, in 2005, there the dominance of the majority, while the disadvantages are the
was delay in the rescue work as there was confusion between following: (1) It can lead to duplication of government and
the state governments and the federal government on who is inefficient, over-lapping or contradictory policies in different
responsible for which disaster management work. This parts of the country. (2) It can lead to inequality between the
resulted in the loss of many lives. states and lead to unhealthy competition and rivalry between
them. (3) It cal lead to over-government that will result to
The federal system of government is very expensive as more corruption. I have cited both faces of federal government in
people are elected to office, both at the state and the center, order to inform all of you that federal government is a good
than necessary. Thus, it is often said that only rich countries system of government and a good example of successful
can afford it. Too many elected representatives with federal kind of government is the United States of America.
overlapping roles may also lead to corruption. But the question here is do we really need it? Is it advisable
for our country to change the government into federal?
Other than that, it leads to unnecessary competition between
different regions. There can be a rebellion by a regional On my point of view, we do not need here a change of
government against the national government too. Both government all we need is to strengthen the centralized
scenarios pose a threat to the countries' integrity. government. And also its very expensive to have a federal
kind of government. We have no enough funds because we are
It is also promotes regional inequalities. Natural resources, still paying our debts. We have already LGUS and NGOS to
industries, employment opportunities differ from region to monitor the needs of people that have a power equal to the
region. Hence earnings and wealth are unevenly distributed. national government. We are making our situation complicated
Rich states offer more opportunities and benefits to its citizens if we change our present government into federal. Lastly, the
than poor states can. Thus, the gap between rich and poor Philippines is a third world country and according to survey
states widens. last September 16, 2006 we have 25 only of the worlds 193
countries have federal political system, and 3 out of 25 is
belong in Asia. It only indicates that a third world country like Example #1: United Kingdom. The UK is a unitary
us is not ready and cannot afford the federal government. parliamentary democracy. Citizens vote for members of
Parliament. Parliament members then select from themselves
who the Prime Minister will be. The national Parliament runs
The disadvantage is that it reduces the ability of different the country, and the local governments have very little power.
subsets of the country to self-govern, which can mean some
groups are left out. Some countries have multiple different Example #2: Cuba. Cuba is a unitary communist government.
cultures or political views, and a unitary system may leave In a communist government the citizens don't have a say in
some of them out. For instance, in the USA, some parts are how the country is run. But again, the national government
very conservative, while some parts are more liberal, and runs the country and local governments do not have much
different parties tend to win in different areas. Having a power.
federal system allows those areas to run themselves in their
own way, in some aspects of the law anyway. Best Answer: A great majority of all the world's nation-states
are unitary systems, including Belgium, Bulgaria, France,
The advantage, though, is it tends to be more efficient and less Great Britain, The Netherlands, Japan, Poland, Romania, the
prone to infighting between different levels of government Scandinavian countries, Spain, and many of the Latin-
over who has the power and who is paying for what, which American and African countries. There are great differences
often slows things down. For example, in Australia, there was among these unitary states, however, specifically in the
recently a lot of conflict between the state governments and institutions and procedures through which their central
the federal government over transport projects. One state governments interact with their territorial subunits.
wanted to build a certain rail line, while the feds wanted to
build another, so there was no agreement over funding, and for In one type of unitary system, decentralization of power
years, neither were built. Where there is just one group among subnational governments goes so far that in practice,
making the decisions, this is less likely. although not in constitutional principle, they resemble federal
arrangements. In Great Britain, for example, there are
important elements of regional autonomy in the relationship
between Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland and the
national government in London; and the complex system of
elected local governments, although in constitutional theory
subject to abrogation by Parliament, is in practice a fixed and
Federal Government fairly formidable part of the apparatus of British government.
Central government is out of touch with local concerns In other unitary systems of this type, decentralization on a
Slow in meeting local problems territorial basis is actually provided for constitutionally, and
Doesn't always meet the needs of citizens the powers of locally elected officials are prescribed in detail.
Disadvantages of Unitary Thus, the Japanese constitution, for example, specifies certain
Prevents national policies autonomous functions to be performed by local administrative
Leads to a lack of accountability authorities.
Can be confusing when crossing borders
Disadvantages of Federal A second type of unitary system makes substantially less
Uniform policies throughout the state provision for territorial decentralization of authority and
Greater unity employs rather strict procedures for the central supervision of
Less conflicts between national and local government locally elected governments. The classic example of this type
Advantages of Unitary is France . Until March 1982, when a law on decentralization
Leads to political stability went into effect, the French administrative system was built
Gives people more opportunities to be involved in the around dpartements , each headed by a prfet , and
government subdivisions of the dpartements, termed arrondissements ,
Prevents tyranny each headed by a sous-prfet. The prfets and sous-prfets
Advantages of Federal were appointed by the government in Paris to serve as agents
of the central government and also as the executives of the
Unitary Government divisional governments, the conseils gnraux, which were
UNITARY GOVERNMENT- Leaders can be a King, Prime composed of elected officials. The system thus combined
Minister, or President central supervision of local affairs through appointed officials
with territorial representation through locally elected
It really doesn't matter who the leader of the country is; what governments. (Following the passage of the decentralization
matters, is that the national level of the government has power law, the executive powers of the prfets were transferred to the
and runs the country. A unitary system can be autocratic, conseils gnraux.)
oligarchic or democratic. So, depending on the type of
government that is in place, citizens may play a large role in Yet a third type of unitary system provides for only token
the country's politics. decentralization. In such cases, the officials responsible for
managing the affairs of the territorial subdivisions are
appointees of the central government, and the role of locally
elected officers is either minimal or nonexistent. Examples of
this kind of arrangement include Germany under Adolf Hitler government set certain rules for how the money was to be
and also several formerly Communist countries. The Third spent, state governments had the power to administer it as they
Reich was divided into 42 Gaue, each headed by a gauleiter saw fit. Some states, therefore, gave little money through
chosen for his personal loyalty to Hitler. In eastern Europe, the AFDC, whereas others were much more generous.
people's councils or people's committees were named by the
centrally organized Communist parties; their appointment was Often, the boundary between national and local power is
confirmed by elections with one slate of candidates. blurred. Federal systems have the opposite strengths and
weaknesses of unitary systems: They excel at factoring in
local circumstances but often fail to have a coherent national
A system of government distributes power among different
parts and levels of the state. Political scientists study the uses Example: The United States, Mexico, and Canada operate
of power, including how power is distributed within a state. under federal systems. These states have a mix of national and
The amount of power held by the central government state governments that share power and policymaking
determines the system of government a state has. There are responsibilities.
three main systems of government used today: unitary
systems, federal systems, and confederate systems.
Federal vs. Unitary Governments

THREE SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT In a unitary government the power is held by one central
authority but in a federal government, the power is divided
Unitary (e.g., China, France, Japan, United Kingdom)High between national (federal) government and local (state)
Sets uniform policies that direct the entire nation governments. In recent years there has been a strong global
Disregards local differences trend toward federal governments. Unitary systems have been
Federal (e.g., United States, Germany, Australia, Canada) sharply curtailed in a number of countries and scrapped
Medium Gives local governments more power together in others. France is a good example of a nation-state
Sacrifices national uniformity on some issues that has a long tradition of a unitary government in which a
Confederate (e.g., Confederate States of America, Belgium) very strong national government dominates local government
Low Gives local/regional governments almost decisions. Their basic form of governments consists of 96
complete control Sets no significant uniform national policies departments that each has an elected general council. The
administrative head is elected by the national government as
Unitary Systems opposed to being elected by the people. The French
A unitary system has the highest degree of centralization. In a government has granted additional legal powers to the
unitary state, the central government holds all the power. departments and communes over recent years. Local
Lower-level governments, if they exist at all, do nothing but governments can now borrow money freely to finance local
implement the policies of the national government. In a purely projects without government approval. In a unitary
unitary state, the same set of laws applies throughout the government, the central government possesses much authority
nation, without variation. Unitary states create national policy, and decision-making power. Local governing bodies simply
which is then applied uniformly. This uniformity sometimes serve as administrative arms of the central government. Great
serves as an advantage because people and businesses know Britain is a familiar example of a unitary government;
exactly what to expect from the laws, regardless of individual British counties have little of the power commonly
geographical location. At the same time, to maintain its exercised by American states. Places like the United Kingdom,
uniformity, a unitary government must overlook local where England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have
differences that might call for different rules or policies. their own internal governments are still subject to the laws
created by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The
Example: Most absolute monarchies and tyrannies operate devolved governments cannot challenge the constitutionality
under unitary systems. But democratic unitary states exist as of acts of Parliament, and the powers of the devolved
well. In France, for example, the central government makes governments can be revoked or reduced by the central
virtually all of the decisions. government (the Parliament with a government comprising the
Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister).
Federal Systems
A federal system has a mix of national and state or local In a federal government, power is split between a central
governments. The federal government usually trumps local government authority and its constituent states. Usually, an
governments in matters of defense and foreign policy, but overriding law of the land, known as a constitution, allocates
local governments have a great deal of say over most other duties, rights, and privileges to each level of government. The
policy areas. Sometimes local governments administer constitution usually defines how power is shared between
national policies, which mean that, in practice, the national national, state, and local governments. The United States is
policy varies a great deal from place to place. considered the first modern federation. After declaring
independence from Britain, the U.S. adopted its first
Example: In the United States, state governments administered constitution, the Articles of Confederation in 1781. This was
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) throughout the first step towards federalism by establishing the federal
the length of the program, 19351997. Although the federal Congress. This is a government with strong central powers.
-Power is diffused
-Gives more power to local territories/ provinces to make
Federal versus Unitary Government rules/laws
-The U.S. has a federal government
The government of any state is organized generally in two -Students of federal governments will note that within a basic
main ways: The unitary system or the federal system. As more federal political system, there are two or more levels of
and more ethnicities move towards self-determinism, government that exist within an established territory and
governments restructure their system to transfer limited govern through common institutions with overlapping or
authority to regional or local governments from the national shared powers as prescribed by a constitution.
government. In this sense, ethnicities can possess majority
control of a local unit of government without compromising a
higher power. Unitary government
Unitary Government System: This type of government system
Unitary State: Places most power in the hands of central works best in nation-states where few cultural differences exist
government officials. within the state and a strong sense of national pride and unity
Federal State: Allocates strong power to units of local is prevalent. Since the power is centralized in a unitary
government within a country. system, there must be efficient communication throughout the
country; therefore smaller states tend to have unitary
What also must be taken into consideration is that a countrys government systems. Governments of this type are common in
cultural and physical characteristics influence the type of Europe. Although typically nation-states tend to have a unitary
government that is in existence. An example would be a system in place, multi-national states have also had a unitary
theocratic government, which is a government based on system in the past. When a unitary system exists in a
religion and the law provided. This type of government is in multinational state, it is often predictable that values and
existence in many Middle Eastern countries because the beliefs of one nationality are imposed over the lesser ones.
religion that is dominant there encompasses directional law When Communist parties controlled government, many
that covers all aspects of life including the system of Eastern European countries had unitary systems to spread and
government. promote diffusion of Communist values.
* There is no hierarchy of sovereign powers.
* States have no authority to pass their own laws, and the
central (national) government can order the states to do
Federal government anything. (Just like a state can order a town to do anything,
Federal Government System: This type of government system because the town is not sovereign.)
distributes power from the national government to local * The federal government has a huge percentage of the power.
governments in order to adopt their own laws within reason of (Japan)
the country. Multinational states tend to adopt a federal system
of government to empower different nationalities and avoid
political instability. Under a federal system, local government Unitary
boundaries can be drawn to encompass a region inhabited by a -Government system
certain ethnicity. The federal system also works effectively for -Central government possesses most of the authority
larger states because the capital may be too far away to -Uniformly applied
efficiently control further regions. However the size of state -Tends to be dictatorship/totalitarianism
does not always reveal its type of government because -France is a unitary government but is democratic
Belgium for example, is a small country with a federal system -Power is centrally concentrated
for the purpose of managing two majority ethnicities. Another -Little to no provincial authority
example would be the large state of China, which has a unitary -Major decisions are made by the central government
government to spread and diffuse Communist values. -Tends to go along with nation-state
* Has multiple hierarchy levels, with both the central authority -A unitary state is a country whose three organs of state are
and the states (or provinces) both being sovereign. governed as one single unit.
* The central (national) rules override the state rules -In a unitary state, any sub-governmental units can be created
* Has a balance between them. (The US) or abolished, and have their powers varied, by the central
* Shared between national and local levels. In a federal form government.
of government, the term "federal" is also used to refer to the -A unitary state can broaden and narrow the functions of such
national level of government. devolved governments without formal agreement from the
affected bodies.

Federal Government
-a government with strong central powers
-Allows much authority
-Goes along with a multi-national state