Hueglin argues that federalism studies have remained undertheorized and that political theory has taken little notice of federalism as a normative proposition. He identifies four federalism-related concepts for further theoretical reflection: First, the idea of federalism offers a plural understanding of territorial identity that may contribute to a more complex understanding of self-determination; second, federalism comprises an ideational understanding of particular autonomy bounded in the universality of a common enterprise and protected by considerations of subsidiarity; third, a core principle of federalism, membership equality, invites reflection not only on the political legitimacy of majority rule, but also on the tension between the symmetry of equality and the asymmetry of diversity; fourth, the commitment to social solidarity embedded in the agreement to establish a federal union raises critical questions about the liberal separation of state and market. The chapter ends with the suggestion that democracy might learn from federalism.
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Ana Rosa Ribeiro de Mendonça and Simone Deos
The authors emphasize an overlooked raison d’être for public banks. They argue that limiting public banks to filling the gaps left by private banks, the standard argument in economics, neglects a very important dimension of public banks, that is, their capacity to act countercyclically and thereby stabilize access to credit during economic downturns. Taking a cue from Hyman Minsky, they point to the immanent volatility of financial markets dominated by private actors. In order to counter destabilizing tendencies, the presence of institutions with the logic of action that differs from that of the market is necessary. As public banks are not primarily concerned with profitability, they can play this role. To a certain extent, their presence in the market is an automatic stabilizer because public banks provide credit with long maturation. In times of crisis, they can also be used for discretionary intervention, that is, opening up new credit lines.