Year: 2021

Editors: Gian Marco Bovenzi, Fondazione Luigi Einaudi

ISBN: 978-2-39067-016-2

This book aims to contribute to the theoretical and empirical contributions about the role of decentralisation under uncommon uncertainty developing, exploring and suggesting new arguments in the classical liberal perspective and comparing experiences of different models of government in Europe (e.g., Austria, France, Italy, Poland). From the reading of the book, it emerges that in some decentralised countries the lack of coordination and communication between the central and the local governments created some severe problems during the pandemic; at the same time, the differentiated responses by the regional governments according to the level of governance and timing of the pandemic waves represented in some cases an effective example of experimentation. The idea that the pandemic crisis is on the net less crucial for the arguments supporting the decentralisation of powers recurs in several contributions. There are situations where centralised public action is more effective and timely than a decentralised one in the efforts to respond to the crisis. However, uniformity weakens the role of decentralisation as an institutional device to counterbalance and limit, if necessary, the power of the Leviathan (Brennan and Buchanan, 1980), and also to protect civil liberties and economic freedom. The emergency situations may risk to favor an excessive centralisation of powers and a definition of institutional equilibria consistent with the values of liberal democracies is not easy. A book like this is precious as it questions, on theoretical and factual basis, the advocacy of centralisation as an absolute necessity in times of crisis in the spirit of liberal support of decentralisation principles.

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