Overcoming The Political Decay in America

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2020 |

Pages: 4|

11 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 2020|Pages: 4|11 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

In his article titled America in Decay: Sources of Political Dysfunction, Fukuyama, in his introduction, expounds on some of the early successes that were attained by the initiation of the US Forest Service. He states that prior to the Pendleton Act of 1883, appointments to public offices were allocated by political parties as per to patronage (Fukuyama). However, as the years have progressed, the US Forest Service and many other American institutions have failed to meet the expectations that the American public expected of them. Similarly, there are clear inefficiencies being conceived in the political realm of the United States. This is what Fukuyama calls institutional decay and political dysfunction.

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The article by Fukuyama outlines detailed characteristics of how institutions and political undertakings have been inefficient in recent years. For instance, he cites the American courts as being unable to discharge their functions as efficiently as they ought to. He gives an example of the court ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson that legalized segregation. He touches on the failings of the legislature and cites the American congress as being unable of being independent and easily falling for external influence for the upholding of laws. The executive is also cited as being run by elites who control all the official perspectives of the government. Generally, Fukuyama’s article lists a whole lot of issues that logically qualify the notion of decay and dysfunction all through the institutions and governmental structures of the US.

Fukuyama offers quite a realistic explanation of institutional decay by citing Samuel Huntington’s definition of political decay. As such, he argues that decay was caused by political development that ironically was so much sought by traditional administrators. Fukuyama argues that institutions make decisions depending on current circumstances. When success is realized, the organizations maintain those decisions but when new circumstances arise, it becomes a tough challenge trying to craft new decisions to combat the new circumstances (Fukuyama). Upon the arising of new circumstances, it becomes a challenge for those involved to change their mental adaptation to the requirements of new decisions. Currently, as stated by Fukuyama, the US Forest Service is just one of the several public institutions that are dysfunctional and in decay.

Fukuyama conceives that the cause of political dysfunction and decay in the US is the state of courts and parties. He argues that the US, being a liberal democracy, has three major arms of governance. The first is the executive that, as he argues, uses the power to enforce laws and implement policies. The second and third arms of the US government are the judiciary and legislature that, as he also argues, constrain power and define its application for public interest. In the quest to maintain a balance between these three arms of the use Government, there arises a crisis of representation. This crisis, as Fukuyama argues, stems out from the American citizens’ popular understanding that their democratic government does not work to fully meet their democratic needs but to fulfill the demands of shadowy elites who control it. Then there is the notion of interest groups that Fukuyama claims that they control legislation processes as they significantly influence all legislations that are initiated by the US Congress.

Arend Lijphart, another influential author on democracy and governance, holds, quite a different view about to the failings of the current democratic systems of governance. According to his opinion in the book Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, it is not the institutions that bring about failure in government systems but rather the type of democracy being applied by those handling the responsibility of governance. As such, if he was writing on this topic, Lijphart, unlike Fukuyama, could have dwelt more on the types of democracies, the strengths and shortcomings and not the decay that Fukuyama associates with the changes and transitioning of institutions from their traditional forms to modern contexts of governance. Citing from his book, it is clear that Lijphart is of the position that it is only through consensus democracy that all governmental ills can be avoided.

In his book, Lijphart analyzes the systems of governance in thirty six countries. Although they all claim to be harboring the democratic principles of governance, he reports of differences in the levels of political success in all these countries. He argues that although implementing democratic forms of governance, there are clearly different interpretations of the democratic principles hence the differences in success among the nations he analyzes. While some of the countries he analyzes rely on the popularity of parties to initiate governance systems, others rely on consensus on governance issues. Lijphart claims that these different views on governance are responsible of the levels of success in all the countries claiming to implement democratic principles of governance. Clearly, if Lijphart was to write the kind of article that Fukuyama wrote, he was to base his arguments on governance failures on these differences on the implementation of democratic principles.

From his description of consensus democracy, Lijphart holds that effective governance should be initiated through popular engagements that will guarantee effective policies that will in turn bring in economic success (Lijphart). Therefore, if he was to write on Fukuyama’s topic, Lijphart will not be holding views about the influence of interest groups and the shadowy elites that control how legislations are effected and how governments are run. Unlike Fukuyama, Lijphart will be keen on mentioning the different measures that need to be initiated for the realization of macro-economic success and the avoidance of the violence that is brought about by the conflicts that Fukuyama writes about in his article. If it were Lijphart writing on Fukuyama’s topic, he could be more interested in the wrong forms of applying and interpreting the democracy as the causes of decay in governmental systems.

Lijphart also will have talked about parties in his article, a topic that Fukuyama merely mentions. In his views, democracy ought to be played in a setting where parties compete. As such, every effective democracy ought to have either two or more parties. In his book, Lijphart analyzes both the strengths and weaknesses of democracies with two or more political parties. Therefore, it is automatic that had written on Fukuyama’s topic; he could have held the view that political parties contribute to the decay of political systems in any democracy. The current paper holds that democracies ought to be marked by competing parties. The party that is marked popular, which cam is determined through elections, forms the government. In his view, once a party forms the government, the government, for it not to bring about the kind of decay that Fukuyama talks about, it should seek consensus by all the parties that it competes with when making important decisions in governance.

The arguments above clearly bring into light the obvious differences the two authors hold regarding to the decay that is currently witnessed in governance systems. Clearly, Fukuyama is of the position that the political decay and dysfunction of democratic governments stems out of the failings of adapting to necessary changes that ought to be effected when transitioning from traditional institutions to modern institutions. Lijphart is of the position that political and governmental systems thrive when effective forms of democratic governance are initiated. He cites consensus democracy as the best form of governance when aiming to avoid issues regarding to conflict associated with governance and macro-economic success. Clearly, the two authors’ arguments have an effective view regarding to the challenges that political leaders and other types of administrators have in the quest to come up with the best forms of governments. Therefore, it is critical that their views are incorporated in the bid to effectively eliminate the clearly visible decay that characterizes modern governmental structures.

To incorporate the views of the two authors, it is critical that the most pronounced themes are systematically analyzed. For instance, Fukuyama’s major theme regards to institutional transitioning from traditional forms to modern forms in the face of influence from external stakeholders. Lijphart has his main theme regarding to the types of democracy that governmental structures put in place by political leaders and administrators in their bid to strengthen their agenda. Clearly, if the political and governmental systems decay is to be avoided, it is important that both of these thematic views of the two authors are effectively understood and then rolled out. The current paper is of the view that, if the transitioning of institutions is to be positively implemented, consensus democracy should be incorporated. The result of this will be a popular approval of all those involved, and the perpetual governance conflicts will be effectively avoided.

The current paper appreciates the fact that the current US systems of governance are marked with ineffectiveness and widespread disapproval by the citizens. In democratic practices, it is the citizens who donate powers to the governing authorities. As such, it is a worrying precedent that those donating powers of governance are not in full approval of how governance structures are set up. Given the dangers that this instance poses to the well-being of democratic practices in the US, it is important that immediate changes are sought to the way governance systems operate in the US. These changes should be done in good faith and should be aimed at fostering the public approval rates of the US governance systems. The upcoming section gives a summary of the changes that ought to be initiated in order to rectify the political and institutional decay in the US.

The external influence of the policy favoritism should be stopped. The current low popularity of the Washington policies is as a result of the external influence that dictates how policies are crafted and interpreted in the US. For the political and institutional decay to be rectified, all the institutions, majorly the Congress that is an important player in the crafting of policies, ought to live up to the notion of independency as explicitly explained and guaranteed in the supreme constitution of the US. As such, interest groups should be regularized in such a way that the current trend of influencing the Congress over policies is fully eliminated. To attain this, interest groups should have their functionality limited to outside the scope of the policy-making structures and processes. Though challenging, there ought to be a way this can be attained, and it is up to the able mind of Americans to choose how best this can be attained.

Secondly, in order to eliminate the perception that an elite group of persons, businesses, and organizations controls how the American government is run, it is important that consensus democracy is adopted. The consensus democracy advocated by Lijphart should be initiated, and all stakeholders should be on board when important governmental decisions are being thought out. It is critical that important governmental decisions receive a popular backing failure to which such decisions turn out to be ineffective and unpopular. In as much as the Madison type of democracy in the US is about the popularity of parties among the US electorate, it is important the loosing parties are extensively involved in deciding on the most important issues regarding to the well-being of Americans. This can only be attained if the current trend of political competition is halted and a new dimension of competition resorted to. The current paper proposes political competition based on agenda and strategies on how best to transform the US to be the best home for every American.

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In conclusion, the issue of rectifying the political and institutional decay in the US should be treated as urgent. All efforts ought to be directed at ensuring all necessary changes are implemented in a way that will help the cohesion levels in the US rise. It is through working together that the American dream can be realized. The trend of competition is not helping America develop as positively as most of its citizens would like it to be. To change this, political leadership and administration ought to be rethought and effectively interpreted and implemented.

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Overcoming The Political Decay in America. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
“Overcoming The Political Decay in America.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
Overcoming The Political Decay in America. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
Overcoming The Political Decay in America [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from:
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