Separation of Powers and Federalism How Do Essay

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Subject: Government
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #95887507

Excerpt from Essay :

separation of powers and federalism. How do these central architectural features of American government seek to support Thomas Jefferson's perspectives; "That government is best which governs least." Why from the view of many business executives is government "gridlock" good?

Separation of powers is that element of the American government designed to protect the nation from tyranny and to, as far as possible, keep the power of the nation decentralized. Federalism, while certainly not designed to promote tyranny, is designed to strengthen the power of the government to act and govern the nation, centralizing power into a strong formal national government. Each of these aspects of modern American government have different implications for business.

According to Thomas Jefferson, "That government is best which governs least." The separation of powers helps to assure that the different branches of the government balance each other sufficiently that no single branch can govern so much that it overwhelms the rights of the populace. The central features of American government (federalism balanced with separation of powers) assure that the government has some degree of power without being able to interfere overmuch in the affairs of the individual or the corporation. The courts, state laws, and executive branch all work to balance the power of the populist federal legislative branches, just as the legislative branches can balance the power of courts which attempt to take the law into their own hands.

The way in which the separation of powers creates a "gridlock" between the branches may prove very helpful to big business whose methods or profits are threatened by government rulings. One of the greatest hurdles that businesses today have to overcome are the ways in which the government interferes with operations. From environmental regulations to employee rights to taxes or zoning, government intervention affects every level of operation. However, when the courts can overthrow legislation, or legislators adjust the laws to get around court rulings, then there is some recourse for business thwarted by the government. A business is, in the final analysis, more likely to have the funds likely for lobbying and protracted court battles than a grassroots antibusiness movement, and thus more likely to succeed in getting around rulings. Gridlock may also prevent certain antibusiness measures from ever being put into law if the courts or a sympathetic executive branch.

2.Antitrust policy in the early 1900s existed to protect consumers and small business in the name of economic efficiency. Today, the Microsoft Case, it seems that the Justice Department is more interested in punishing people and firms for their success than looking out for small business and consumer.

A a.Provide an essay in support of this commonly held view.

The antitrust laws were originally designed to keep the so-called "robber barons" from combining to set artificially inflated prices and support price wars designed to destroy small competitors. While political thinkers such as Ayn Rand had significant objections even to these early reasons for antitrust legislation, many people believe that they were absolutely necessary. However, today the Justice Department doesn't seem as much interested in looking out for small businesses and assuring affordable products for consumers. Cases such as the one involving Microsoft seem to indicate that the Justice Department is more interested in punishing firms for their success.

It seems difficult to believe that Microsoft was the same kind of monopoly as these robber barons. After all, they still have competition from Macintosh and Linux-type programs, and while it is true that it is increasingly difficult to operate in the computer world without running into Microsoft and being forced to figure out how to work around it. However, it really does seem that the Justice department is just going after Microsoft because it is overly successful and gained a lion's share of the market rather than because it is unfairly controlling that market.

A b.Provide an equally convincing essay refuting this claim.

The antitrust laws were originally designed to prevent companies from controlling the market in such a way that it was impossible for competitors to operate. This continues to be the purpose behind antitrust measures, even though some people today believe that they are being used to target successful people.

The truth of the matter is that antitrust laws were always used to target successful businesses. After all, what would the point being in targeting unsuccessful monopolists? While technology has changed the face of monopolies, it has not changed their negative characteristics.

Most people who believe Microsoft was not a monopoly believe this because they do not entirely understand the technology behind the monopoly. It is obviously true that other companies also make computers and computer software. The point, however, is that Microsoft writes its software in such a way that it is more difficult for other companies to market their software, and they do this in order to raise prices and profits. For example, they have "closed" source (ie -- programs that cannot be read and changed by other programmers) that create files for sharing that can only be read by other Microsoft applications and can only read Microsoft applications.

This means that if people want to be able to interface with other computer users, they have to choose Microsoft instead of a competitor. (Competitors do not usually make their files unreadable to other programs) This does create a de facto monopoly, since Microsoft was one of the first major software developers. This is a little as if the largest phone company made it so that only their phones were able to read their incoming and outgoing signals, so that if customers wanted to be able to call any of their friends they had to buy a specific brand of phone.

3.The U.S. has no firm policy for economic development and no central strategy for improving international trade. Why? Provide 3 arguments in favor of this lack of policy and 3 arguments in the favor of having a more activist governmental stance in keeping with how central governments work for economic development and trade improvements in nations such as Japan and/or Europe.

The U.S. has no firm policy for economic development or central strategy for international trade. This is largely because the government and the people of America still have a lingering belief in laissez-faire capitalism that is somewhat out of date with our modern system of government regulation and subsidy for business, but nonetheless remains prominent.

Three significant arguments for such lack of policy are easy to find. First, the theories of the free market suggest that the market itself is wiser than any government, and that as policy is inevitably made by finite individuals, it is not sufficient to embrace the infinite vagaries of the market. Central government control of industry was one of the main flaws in Socialist Russia (according to critics), and not something America wants to duplicate for those reasons. Secondly, such policies may interfere with the success of those businesses which have no part in the government plan, and this might be seen as (or actually be) discriminatory. Finally, having the government direct business would indirectly put the governance of business under the control of majority vote -- and the people are likely to direct the economy to the benefit of workers rather than to the benefit of the capitalists (as occurs in Europe)... This could be disastrous for the profit margin of businesses.

Arguments for the implication of such policy are equally obvious. Having a more controlled policy might help guide the nation into a better economy. Just as a guided business functions better than one that functions by chance, so a guided national economy might function better. Additionally, a controlled policy might allow the government to combine trade and economic pressure more directly with political pressure in foreign policy. Finally, a guided…

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