Disadvantages of Federalism

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 00:33 -- Umar Farooq

Disadvantages of Federalism

The following are the disadvantages of federalism

Federal System is a Source of Weakness for the State

Federalism makes the state weak because there is always a conflict going on between the center and the federating units and as a result of this both the federal government and the federating units suffer. This also results in delays and inefficiency and leads to the weakness of the state.

Federalism Prevents Uniformity of Laws

Federal system prevents uniformity of laws and policies for the countries. The reason far this is that every federal unit remains independent and has the right to adopt any policy or any law. The federal government does not have the authority to interfere in the affairs of the federating unit. The result is that there is as many laws and policies as the number of federating units. This also creates problems for the people who have to go to other provinces from time to time. This is the case with the USA where every state has its own policies and its own laws. This has created a lot of problems for the people of that country.

The Method of Distribution of Powers cannot be Perfect

The method of distribution of powers cannot be perfect for all times. What is of local importance today may become a matter of national importance tomorrow. But unless the constitution is amended (this is something very difficult) the matter cannot be resolved. American constitution came into effect in 1789. Now more than 200 years have passed. Many things have changed including the role of the federal government. But the powers of the federal government remain limited. The result is that there are many fields in which federal government can do many things but it is handicapped because these fields belong to the federating units.

Rigidly of the Constitution is Major Disadvantage of Federalism

The rigidity of the constitution is also obstacle in the way of the progress of the country because the constitution cannot keep pace with the changes in the society. The method of amendment is very rigid and difficult, So many things, which require prompt and quick action, cannot be done because of the rigidity of the constitution and this, in turn, affects the progress of the whole country.

State cannot Pursue Strong Foreign and Domestic Policies

Under a federal system there cannot be a strong foreign policy because there has to be agreement between the federating units and the federal government on many issues. Generally there is no such agreement and the result is that the federal government cannot follow a strong foreign policy. Similarly in internal affairs also the central government is prevented by the constitution from interfering in the affairs of the federating units. This also creates problems and weakness.

Expensive and Un-economical

Federalism is an expensive and uneconomical system. The reason for this is that there is duplication of the works. This increases the expenditure and results in wastage of time and energy. So it is not suitable for small and or states.

Danger of Secession

In Federalism there is always a danger of the federating units breaking away from the federation. This is what happened in the USA in 1860's when the southern states started civil war to break away from the federation. Similarly in the very recent past East Pakistan broke away from federation and became Bangladesh. Kosovo and Russian federating units' case are other examples.