Chapter

Constitutionalism: Contract or Coordination?

Russell Hardin

in Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy

Published in print November 1999 | ISBN: 9780198290841
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599415 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198290845.003.0003
 Constitutionalism: Contract or Coordination?

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Constitutionalism requires merely coordination on big issues of general structure and protections; coordination on any detailed program is virtually out of the question. It works at all only if there is relatively wide agreement on core issues, such as the agreement of the American political elite on the need for something like the Commerce Clause to enable the growth of an American economy through the creation of an open American market under the US Constitution. In polities in which there is no such general agreement, constitutionalism cannot work well. Indeed, it is plausible that the only government that can “work” in many contexts is authoritarian government.

Keywords: Commerce Clause; constitutionalism; contract; coordination; market; US constitution

Chapter.  24291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory

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