Table of Contents for Governance Systems Design

Unlike the other chapters in this book, this one deals with issues that are not typically relevant to (law-abiding) private organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit. This chapter deals with how an organization controls the execution of violence.

Contemporary society attempts to partitions space into territories that fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of governments, where each government is supposed to have a monopoly on violence within its territory. The governments are then supposed to use the threat of violence, or failing that, violence, to stop other people from doing violence, and for enforcing their other laws (some schools of thought, for example some subschools of the minarchists, feel that only the first objective, that is, to prevent others from using violence, is a valid use of violence).

When such a system is working as intended, the laws forbid private organizations from the use of violence, and the governments enforce the laws, which is why private organizations have no choice but to eschew violence, making this chapter irrelevant for them. However, in governments, which do use violence, the control of violence is an important topic. Historically, many governments have been taken over when those of its people who were entrusted to execute violence on behalf of the government turned their power against the government itself, or threatened to do so. On the other hand, perhaps due to fear of that happening, many governments have abused their powers of violence against their own people in a way that popular opinion (perhaps later) considered unjust. Designers of governmental procedures and structures typically wish to prevent both of these outcomes.

capital punishment?

civilian control of military separation of military and police regular transfers of military officer personnel military staffing military education do not give provincial leaders their own armies (eg in China "After his victory, Yuan reorganized the provincial governments. Each province was now supported by a Military Governor (都督) as well as a civil authority, giving each governor control of their own army. Although granting Yuan and provincial authorities a decentralised administration, it helped lay the foundations for the warlordism that crippled China over the next two decades." -- [1])

non-intimidation of legislators (a problem in the rise of nazi germany and facist italy)


more notes on civilian control of military:

In the modern era, democracies are less likely to be overthrown by military coup. Some reasons given by Pilster and Tobias Böhmelt are:

" First, the expected benefits from institutional coup-proofing are likely to be higher in non-democratic regimes as these are more likely to experience agency drift in its most radical sense, i.e. the military agent trying to overthrow the principal via a coup. Empirically, for example, democratic political leaders actually have been significantly less likely to be removed through irregular means such as coups than have leaders of other forms of government.Democracies, on the other hand, are usually characterized by mass political participation, strong civil societies, and publicly accepted formulas for power transfers or political change. Any military would therefore face substantially higher governance costs after toppling a democratic regime, which deters overt military intervention (Finer, 1988: 77ff; see also Jackman, 1978: 1273f; Belkin and Schofer, 2003; 2005; Huntington, 2006: 229ff; Staniland, 2008: 334f).5


Third, the probability of detecting problematic agent behavior and being able to correct it via sanctions is lower in non-democratic states. On one hand, many of the cost-efficient “fire alarms,” i.e., third parties like news media, think tanks, or the civil society in general that gather and provide information about military agents, do generally exist in democratic societies only (Feaver, 2003: 80ff; Belkin, 2005: 28f).6 On the other hand, the credible threat and effective application of punishments depend on the universal acceptance by the military in the first place that these possibilities do exist, are justified, and can thus be enforced by the political leadership. This self-understanding is usually guaranteed in established democracies, but non-democratic leaders have to fear triggering a coup through sanctions intended to discipline the military (Feaver, 2003: 89ff).

5: In this context, Thyne and Powell (2010: 3ff) show that only 17% of all military coups between 1950 and 2010 occurred in democratic regimes, while there was no coup occurring in the most democratic states (i.e., countries with combined Polity scores of 10).

6: The relationship between political institutions and the strength of civil society has also been documented empirically. Barro (1999: 177), for example, reports that the Freedom House measure for electoral rights (a measure of a state's political institutions) is highly correlated with the measure of civil liberties: “The electoral rights indicator is a narrow procedural measure that focuses on the role of elections. In contrast, the Freedom House index of civil liberties is a broader concept that covers freedoms of speech, press, and religion and also considers a variety of legal protections. In practice, however, the civil liberties variable is highly correlated with the electoral rights index.”

" -- Do Democracies Engage Less in Coup-Proofing?On the Relationship between Regime Type and Civil-Military RelationsUlrich? H. Pilster and Tobias Böhmelt,

Non-democracies often use various tactics to attempt to reduce the likelihood of a military coup; these tactics are called 'coup-proofing'