Federalism as a genus of governmental forms offers citizens and officials alike a set of institutional tools by which to make an optimal choice of governing structure. The real advantage of federal forms derives from their inherent flexibility. Because this genera of governmental forms encompasses a range of institutional practices between the extremes of a centralized unitary state and completely autonomous units, the "elasticity" of federalism makes it possible to accommodate societal changes by readjusting the institutional design of the nation. The challenge to political leaders in the twenty-first century will be a federal one: How successful will they be in redesigning the organizational dimensions of the public sector in order to effectively pursue national goals, while maintaining the political integrity of locally situated populations?
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