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Globalization, Federalism, and Governance

Conference on Cooperative Federalism, Globalization, and Democracy Brasilia, Brazil. 9-11 May 2000 GLOBALIZATION, FEDERALISM, AND GOVERNANCE by Earl H. Fry Professor of Political Science and Endowed Professor of Canadian Studies Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 84602 (801) 378-2453 (801) 378-5730 (fax) Paper prepared for the Conference on Cooperative Federalism, Globalization and Democracy, Brasilia May 9-11, 2000 Federalism and Globalization Federations divide authority constitutionally among national and over 350 subnational government units such as states, provinces, cantons, länder, and autonomous republics. Often, a federal system was adopted in the first place to placate the desire for a degree of autonomy among the constituent units, to take into account the exigencies found in huge territorial expanses, or, more commonly, to compensate for diversity or cleavages in a variety of areas. In the end, some are not successful in containing these centrifugal forces, as manifested by the disintegration of federal systems in the former USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. In the New Economy, emphasis is placed on knowledge, innovation, decentralization, entrepreneurship, venture capital, free trade, consumer preferences, life-long learning and training, and speed of execution. An information-based economy diminishes the importance of size, distance, and location, and helps what were once remote areas in the northern tier of nations to compete much more effectively against more prominent regions that are often situated along coastlines or major waterways. Ideally, this shift in emphasis will also benefit the periphery of nations as they compete against the so-called “core” nations. Thus, a key case study over the next quarter of a century will be Brazil for three major reasons: its major global status in terms of GDP, population, and territorial size; its prominence as a leader among emerging markets in the “periphery;” and its federal structure and how well prepared it is to bring greater prosperity to the Brazilian people in all corners of this vast nation-state. Endnotes