Shablinsky A. I.

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  • № 3, 2020

    • On Trust in Representatives (Why Jean-Jacques Rousseau Agreed to Representative Government, or How the Common Will Gave Way to Federalism)

      The issue of trust in representatives is one of the most difficult problems faced by representative democracies. It is particularly acute when considering technically and politically complex bills, when a large number of interest groups are involved and/or issues requiring special knowledge are discussed. In such situations, citizens show little inclination to participate in collective decision-making, seeking to entrust the study of all aspects of business parties, NGOs, and other agents of representation, however, feel for those agents, as well as to legislative power, the less trust than usual.

      The article attempts to show that the solution to the problem of trust in representatives should be sought in the space of theories of federalism. In particular, the author refers to the concept of federalism formulated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in "Considerations on the way of government in Poland". His analysis shows that Rousseau, who is generally considered an uncompromising critic of representative democracy, allows in principle the compatibility of popular government with political representation, provided that a third element is added to them — federalism. According to Rousseau, people's government can only be discussed in a situation where citizens themselves are the authors of laws that they obey, which is also possible with political representation — but only if the powers of people's representatives are set by the instructions of voters and people's representatives are willing to follow these instructions. Federalism provides both that and the other. According to the author, the model of Federal structure described in "Considerations on the way of government in Poland", which provides for mechanisms that ensure both the coordination of interests of representatives and representatives and the competence of the latter, creates conditions for establishing trust between representatives and representatives.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-98-3-82-98

      Pages: 82-98