No question has more impact on people than government and the structure of government. The form of government and the exercise of government power directly affects individual and group rights of citizens, the correlative duties of government bodies, the allocation of energy and natural resources, the quality of the environment, the distribution of wealth, the nature of education, the expression of culture from language to religion, and the economic and political relations of states.
At the brink of the twenty-first century, the rationales for particular government structures are being actively and vigorously examined and reexamined as never before. That intense governance scrutiny has occurred in the 1990s in large part because of the end of the cold war, the demise of communism, the rise of democracy, the emergence of the global marketplace, the movement toward privatization, and the exponential increase in the amount and availability of information.
These factors have resulted in changes and calls for changes both in internal government arrangements among local, regional, and national governments and in external government relations among states.
Within states, people are questioning existing internal relationships among national government and subnational or local governments. These internal distributions of power involve fundamental questions of federalism in the broad sense. Recent challenges to distributions of government power are occurring with varying degrees of intensity around the world in such states as Canada, the former Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Mexico, Somalia, South Africa, the former Yugoslavia, as well as the former Soviet Union and the United States.
Externally, states are also altering their governmental relations with one