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ACM Home arrow Constitutional Monarchies and Republics Compared

Constitutional Monarchies and Republics Compared
Constitutional Monarchies Compared



Invited to a 1999 debate on the republic referendum at an inner city branch of the Liberal Party of Australia, my assertion that constitutional monarchies or crowned republics  were among the world’s most advanced countries was greeted with derision and ridicule.

It was difficult to believe this was a branch of the party founded by Sir Robert Menzies. Saying " Well may you laugh," I then recited a list of countries with admirable records, all constitutional monarchies.  this was greeted in resentful silence.

The fact is that of the seven oldest continuing democracies, five are constitutional monarchies. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II reigns over four.

  The Westminster system has been exported to many countries and has had an unrivalled success, unlike the constitutional  models of the to two oldest ( politicians') republics, the USA and Switzerland.

For many years now, ACM has been posting evidence on this site supporting our argument that constitutional monarchy (or as many say  a "
Crowned Republic") offers the world’s most consistently successful form of government.

This is principally in the United Nations’ annual Human Development Index and in  certain other indices. By ranking countries in a way which is more consistent with this thinking, the HDR report has helped shift the debate away from gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as the only measure of development.

Instead, the HDI has provided a summary of each country’s achievement in attaining for its people: 

·          A long and healthy life,

·          access to knowledge, and 

·          a decent standard of living.

A common theme emerges in all of these indices. While constitutional monarchies make up only about 15% of the nations of the world, they are very much over represented among the best performing countrie sin the world. Recent academic research indicates the most important factors in a nation becoming and remaining democratic, prosperous and well educated is its institutions. This surely means that the institutions in a constitutional democracy seem to be particularly appropriate for a nation to become democratic, prosperous, well educated. It is more than a coincidence.



US lacks AAA political system fears President - needs a Governor-General? Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 31 July 2011
President Obama has warned (London Daily Telegraph, 29 July) that if the supply crisis in the United States was not solved by Tuesday the United States could lose its prized AAA credit rating “...because we did not have a triple-A political system to match.”

Now the American Constitution has its attractions. While it is very much a politicians’ republic, it is at least one with effective checks and balances, unlike the two highly flawed models proposed by Australia's republican establishment at the 1998 Constitutional Convention.

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It is stable but it suffers from rigidities not present in our Westminster system.



...impeachment paralyses the government and congress..


  The President is extremely difficult to remove and doesn't go when he assured. The case concerning President Nixon is the best-known example. 

Think of how quickly a Prime Minister or Premier can go under our system.






...President not responsible....



 As I wrote in one of the ACM’s  referendum campaign books, The Cane Toad Republic, the action taken  after President  Kennedy's failed invasion of Cuba – the Bay of Pigs fiasco - is another less well known example  of this flaw in the American system.

The President succinctly explained this to the deputy director of the CIA:
If this were the British government, I would resign and you, being a civil servant would remain… “But it isn't. In our government, you…have to go and I have to remain. 



  

...supply dries up, government closes down...

(Continued  below)

Read more...
 
Her Majesty deserves an award Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Monday, 11 July 2011

If the government were to grant an award to the public servant who has made the greatest effort over the last year to manage expenditure, Her Majesty The Queen would be a strong contender, declared The Spectator in an editorial on 9 July, 2011.

"The Royal public finances published this week reveal that the cost of running the Royal household has fallen over the past year by 5.3% to £32.1 million,” the journal added.  Extracts from the editorial follow.

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“Proportionally, The Queen has made more cuts in one year then George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) intends to do over five.”

“The Royal household is now costing the taxpayer less in absolute terms than it was in 2007.”

“Had the British government reduced total costs by 5.3%, the structural deficit would have been eliminated already –and the era of austerity ended.”

“It is counterintuitive that an unelected monarchy should act more wisely with public money than an elected government. But anyone who tries to argue the monarchy is a drain on the taxpayer should look at the French model. The cost of running Nicolas Sarkozy's household have almost trebled since he entered the Elysée Palace.”

“Those who dragged Marie Antoinette to the scaffold would be astonished to see the airs and graces acquired by the leaders of the Republic.”

“One ruling class has replaced another.”

 
Constitutional Monarchies are more democratic Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 11 July 2011

In a comment here on 6 May 2011, Evidence overwhelming - constitutional monarchies are better,   I referred to   objective measures which can be used in comparing constitutional monarchies with republics.

This comparison was of relevance in ACM’s campaign in the years leading up to the referendum in 1999. For a number of years, a series of reports about this have been published on this site which are all accessible in the section, Constitutional Monarchies and Republics Compared.The first useful measure is the number of constitutional monarchies in the best ten countries in any objective of the various indices which measure the performance of different countries.

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As constitutional monarchies make up around 15% of the countries in the world, if there is more than 1 country in the top five or even top ten, then clearly constitutional monarchies are over represented.

Similarly if there are more than three in the top 20, constitutional monarchies are again over represented.And if constitutional monarchies are over represented, republics (that is politicians' republics) are therefore under represented.

One of the indices I referred to in the comment on on 6 May was The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy.

This was the third edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index. It reflects the situation as of November 2010.   





...the Democracy Index...




 

“The first edition, published in The Economist’s The World in 2007, measured the state of democracy in September 2006 and the second edition covered the situation towards the end of 2008,“  the introduction to the index explains.

The index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: full democracies; flawed democracies; hybrid regimes; and authoritarian regimes.

“Free and fair elections and civil liberties are necessary conditions for democracy,” the introduction says “but they are unlikely to be sufficient for a full and consolidated democracy if unaccompanied by transparent and at least minimally efficient government, sufficient political participation and a supportive democratic political culture.”

“It is not easy to build a sturdy democracy. Even in long-established ones, if not nurtured and protected, democracy can corrode.”

It warns that the “decades-long global trend in democratisation had previously come to a halt in what Larry Diamond (2008) called a “democratic recession”.

Now democracy, it says, is in retreat. "The dominant pattern in all regions over the past two years has been backsliding on previously attained progress in democratisation. The global financial crisis that started in 2008 accentuated some existing negative trends in political development.”





… how do they compare ?...





(Continued below)

Read more...
 
Constitutional monarchy is no anachronism Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
It has become part of the liberal creed that monarchy and empire are anachronisms, wrote  the British political philosopher and author Pprofessor John Gray in The Observer,  29 July 2007.

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[ Utopia.... or gulag? ]
 

I would not have seen this but for a Brazilian contributor to ACM’s Facebook,
Alexandre Carvalho.  This is testimony to the proposition that social media can contribute significantly  to intellectual debate.  Because a constitutional monarchy embodies the hereditary principle, he says that no “modern” thinker can accept as a legitimate basis of government. Empires represent something still worse - the subjugation of peoples who should govern themselves.

In future, the world will be organised into self-determining republics where all citizens enjoy equal rights,” he writes. “When empires are no more and kings and queens have been retired from service there will be enduring peace, and freedom will for the first time be universal.”
 

This fable,” he says” has a certain innocent charm. It turns the ironies of history into a simple morality play, and in a time that demands emotional uplift before anything else it has a powerful appeal. Yet this liberal narrative involves a massive simplification of events, and the ideal of self-determination it articulates has proved dangerous in practice.”



...self-determination...



“Woodrow Wilson ( the US President)  imagined that by promoting self-determination in eastern and central Europe after the fall of the Hapsburg empire the result would be civic nation-states.

"Instead,” he warns” it was ethnic nationalism based on hatred of internal minorities and decades of war and dictatorship.”

 Liberal opinion clings to the ideal of self-determination as an article of faith, but the truth is that constructing nation-states is nearly always a bloody business,” he adds.

Australia is a splendid exception – more reason not to disturb the core of our Constitution.  As the preamble says this was to be an “indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown...”

“The monarchical constitution we have today - a mix of antique survivals and postmodern soap opera - may be absurd, but it enables a diverse society to rub along without too much friction.”

Anachronism or not, it is surely unwise to convert our polity into a state where the political elite occupy all arms of the state. 

Constitutional monarchies have been proven to be superior performers on every index which measures health, wealth, education and quality of governance. 
  
 
Constitutional monarchies continue to outperform republics: now its the OECD index Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 13 June 2011

 

Evidence is pouring in every month or so confirming the proposition we have long argued here. This is that on all the objective measures of well being known to man, constitutional monarchies outperform republics.

The latest is an index from the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This is  a club of the world's 34 richest countries.

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[ Usain Bolt triumphs...would be honoured to be knighted by The Queen]


 

 In its Better Life Index, it has ranked its members over 11 key categories. They are  Housing, Income, Jobs, Community, Education, Environment, Governance, Health, Life Satisfaction, Safety, and Work-life balance.

The index is interactive, and users can develop their own index by giving the weight they think appropriate to each category. 

There is, however an overall index.  The results confirm what we already know: that constitutional monarchies outperform republics.



...criticism...



One of the criticisms that some Australian Republicans make of a use of a whole series of indices is that they lumped together rich and poor countries.

They should have no difficulties with this index.  It is after all the rich countries club.


...the facts...




The top five are in this order, Australia, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and Norway.  So of the top five, 100% our constitutional monarchies.  Understood , my dear anonymous republican commentator?

Thus constitutional monarchies are overrepresented by a factor of close to 7.

Of the top 10, 70% our constitutional monarchies.  Thus they  are overrepresented by a factor of almost 5.

Of the top 20, 55% our constitutional monarchies.  Accordingly constitutional monarchies are overrepresented by a factor of four.






...conclusion....


 

 

I have no doubt that on any reasonable and objective assessment, constitutional monarchies outperform republics. 

 
 
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