Problem

Government limitations

Other Names:
Restricted government ability to undertake new initiatives
Limited degrees of freedom of government
Limitations of government power
Constraints on power of government
Government impotence
Impotence of political leadership
Limited political power
Political impotence
Nature:
Despite electoral promises and the best of intentions, governments are severely restricted in the nature of new initiatives they are able to undertake. This is due to a combination of the following factors: secret compromise commitments made during the electoral process, binding commitments made by previous governments, and financial obligations incurred by previous governments. The binding commitments can take the form of contractual obligations (construction projects, staff contracts, etc), agreements with other countries (trade agreements, defence agreements, etc) and agreements with intergovernmental organizations. The financial obligations are associated with repayment of debt as a result of borrowing by previous governments.

Any single government's power is very much circumscribed by the needs and expectations of its neighbours, friends and enemies. Constraints are imposed by previous governments, the powers of local and regional authorities, the country's membership in international alliances and organizations, and the current state of relationships with neighbours.

Incidence:
In the post-Cold War period, the limitations of the two superpowers have become increasingly evident, especially in their ability to influence regional conflicts (El Salvador, Gaza, Kashmir, Cambodia). In dealing with Soviet spies in a military project, the Canadian government has had to take into account not only its own relations with the former Soviet Union, but also those between the former Soviet Union and the USA.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
07.03.1997 – 00:00 CET