Chapter 3 | Good Governance & Checks and Balances

Chapter 3 | Good Governance & Checks and Balances


An introduction to Chapter 3.
Good Governance and Checks & Balances. Good governance can be determined on the basis of eight criteria developed by the United Nations, namely these are As you can see democracy is not a criterion. However democracy has a positive effect on criteria
such as transparency and participation. Aside from these there are other instruments
that contribute to good governance. An instrument for example is a free press,
which acts
as a watchdog, ensuring transparency in government and
offering citizens greater access to participate. In general the United States does well
when compared to other countries. Think only of participation, accountability, rule of law and transparency as good examples. However there exist certain aspects of Good Governance in the United States which are questionable. An interesting subject for discussion
is consensus orientation. The United States has a de facto two-party system. This means that the party in power is basically
calling the shots, which sometimes results in the repealing of laws that were
put in place by a former administration. The lack of consensus indicates that the democratic
system is not functioning properly and parties are less able to develop
effective policies. Putting the challenges on paper to
achieve good governance is easy, but finding the instruments needed to put the
challenges into practice is the hard part. In my opinion just reading headline
news with an almost constant barrage of attacks on government failings,
makes issues such as rule of law participation, transparency and accountability
the obvious choice and priority. In order to obtain good governance,
it is important that the government itself creates the conditions for this. What is important is whether there are
instruments that have a positive effect on the integrity of the
government’s institutions. To put it simply does the government accept
checks and balances and countervailing power? Checks and balances in the US serve to
prevent one branch of the government from holding too much power. It is important that the government itself
has systems to prevent abuse of power. Checks and balances finds its origin
in “separation of powers” in which the government itself is split
into three parts namely: the executive, legislature and judiciary. Legislative power is vested in the Congress, so
citizens can vote in politicians as the representatives. What this all means is that the executive
cannot determine the laws themselves. This also relates to anti-corruption
legislation that is applicable to politicians and government institutions. Independent judicial power provides
opportunities for correcting executive power, if they use their power
in an improper way. In addition, the government must give space to
countervailing power in the public domain. Countervailing power is the power exercised
by organizations and protest groups in response to the power of the
governing elite. The free press is important
in this case. But also for example labor unions, independent
scientific institutes and various NGOs. So for a country to be objectively informed,
it is important for it to have a high level of investigative journalism and organizations
willing to question the government’s actions. Also the interest of workers and minorities
must be given a voice. Groups and individuals should have the right to
organize themselves and must have equal opportunities
to information transfer. And in government, no one person or department
should have absolute control over decisions, in addition to roles and responsibilities
being clearly defined.

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