The path to participatory freedom: Depersonalizing power

Cruz, Loren (2009). "The path to participatory freedom: Depersonalizing power" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

“Governments produced by elections may be inefficient, corrupt, short-sighted, irresponsible, dominated by especial interests, and incapable of adopting policies demanded by the public good. These qualities make such governments undesirable but they do not make them undemocratic.”1 These qualities make such governments polyarchies2 - regimes incompletely democratized- whose power structures need to be improved through the enhancement of institutions within each State with the aim of protecting human dignity and overcoming un-freedoms. There is a special need to strengthen institutions and render them independent from elected governors that claim to be legitimate based on the suffrage of the majority3, since this has an impact on what citizens can positively achieve 4. For these measures to become operative, the power of the State must not be concentrated in the population‘s representatives: power must not be personalized. Furthermore, the State has made it possible to overcome the “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”5 kind of life that people used to live. Men do not have access to their rights without a State that guarantees them, hence “to weaken or to destroy the State [is] to threaten the future of the human race.”6 Nevertheless, currently not only do our States need to survive or to remain strong and “fulfill the mandate given”7 to them, but they also need to improve their governance, to avoid the abuses towards the population, and to enhance living standards for society so people can have the standard of living they aspire to. In this sense, difficult as it might be, the State must acknowledge the responsibility entrusted to it to make those who are invisible visibles8. While the State holds the power of command, it is also obliged to obey its mandate.
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