Improving Intergovernmental Relations
Edited by Giorgio Brosio and Juan P. Jiménez
Chapter 2: Federalism and fiscal federalism: the emergence and distortion of the centro-federalist constitutional model in its political and fiscal manifestations
The question of federalism in general, and of fiscal federalism in particular, has been a central theme of Latin American constitutional history from its beginnings. Placing the issue in the context of Latin American constitutional history can help us recognize that the debate over federalism and the duties of the national state has been a feature of constitutionalism since its inception, and involves different ways of designing constitutional arrangements. This has always been a central point of a dispute that is still far from being resolved, whether in theoretical or in practical terms. The dispute, in turn, reflects differing views as to how best to assemble the various pieces of the constitutional puzzle. In other words: the still-unresolved debate over the scope of federalism and its arrangements is not merely the result of the relative ‘backwardness’ of our societies, a shortage of resources, recurrent economic crises, or the failure to consolidate and strengthen our institutions. The debate over federalism is in fact part of a broader dispute, also unresolved, over the constitutional model that should guide the organization of our societies.
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