Fabio G. Angelini, PhD MBA

Avvocato e Professore straordinario presso la Facoltà di Ingegneria dell’Università Internazionale Uninettuno di Roma

(Re)thinking Public Law to renew the Political System

People tend to think of the political system as a public institution based on high-minded principles, it’s not. Politics behaves according to the same kinds of incentives and forces that shape competition in any private industry (political exchange model, as Buchanan and Tullock call it). Our elections and our legislative systems are drowning in unhealthy competition: The political-industrial complex wins, and the public interest loses. Business, in pursuing its short-term interests, has become a major participant in the politics industry, exacerbating its dysfunction (M. Porter – K.M. Gehl, The Politics Industry)

We need to come back to reflect about the rules of the political system (the Public Law), cause the democratic game is done by the rules and a good game is the consequence of good rules. So, starting to the Buchanan’s theories and the constitutional political economy, I focused my studies on the Public Law’s functions and on the needed to look the Public Law as a discursive-rational framework. 

The EU (macro)economics constitution has contributed to change our approach about the competition in private sector and the public expenditures and the financial stability in the public sector. But political system has so far resisted, fueling populist movements and authoritarian forces. The pandemic and the Next Generation UE offers the possibility to give a coerence between our internal political order and the EU economic order. 

If we would begin to think the Public Law as a tool for a dialogue between society, politics and economics (like a part of the doctrine has suggested), we could improve the democratic system to lead it on the way of the mutual gains from joint committment to rules. Trought that way we could have healthy competition in politics—results, innovation, and accountability—by redesigning how we vote and how the public institutions use their  power to connect the acting in the public interest with getting reelected.    

To these issues I have dedicated my latest books ‘Public intervention between fundamental rights and economic rationality. Democratic dysfunctions and administrative functions as an exercise of popular sovereignty’ and ‘The Constitutional Democracy between economic power and popular sovereignty’. I hope these works would illuminate the root causes of political dysfunctions and points to the most powerful levers for transformation.


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