Main Models of State Organisation

Although perfect state models, compared with Weber's ideal types of authority, do not exist in whole (but only as fragments and this model reference fits more in laboratory conditions than the real ones), there still are attempts to improve elements of existing state structures under developmental challenges. It is particularly important in forecasting and then implementation of such state models, that will not be defined as declining—still at the moment of their development or implementation—and will be focused on facing the threats and taking up competition in the future.

In a modern state four functional and structural aspects can be distinguished, which create a specific model or refer to it, and state uses each of them depending from a governance period, its duration, economic situation, external influence, temporary conflicts and others. Thus the state models refer to:

(a) Society-managed institution, which legitimises legally appointed organs of power.

(b) Market, where the principles of free market economy are approved.

(c) Organisational structure—as a space for setting, negotiating, making and executing optimal decisions.

(d) Organism driven with moral values, which are articulated by legal norms and whose goal is to protect independent status of the citizen and those institutions, which should protect him (Osin´ski 2011).

“Type of state is a state classification unit in terms of history, distinguished by group of important features characterising the state due to their association with a particular socio-economic and political system, which strengthens and protects the state” (Szmulik and Z˙ migrodzki 2004, p. 52, translated). Throughout the years there have been various models of state—Table 3.2 and further descriptions reflect them

in general.

M. Foucault, analysing the development of states from Roman Empire to nineteenth century, indicates numerous transformations, which lead to origins of three models of states:

(a) State of pastoral authority—derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition, based on guardianship authority and benefit of existence of state population. Ruler was identified with shepherd, who takes care of his sheep, saves them and protects from evil. The subjects agree to pure obedience to their sovereign, and identify its observance (obedience) with a big advantage. State in this model takes care of people, pays special attention to relationship between them. In doctrinal meaning this type of authority is congruent with St. Thomas Aquinas' and John Calvin's conceptions of state. State authority boils down to providing peace, possibility to farm and obey God's orders. State of pastoral authority strived to integral treatment and

Table 3.2 Historically developed typology of states

Type of state (model)



Type of despotic monarchy characteristic for first states conquering the neighbouring states. Position of the ruler was perceived through the prism of supernatural abilities and strong reigning celebrated by priests, military or government officials.


Type of state, which emerged during times of despotic monarchy. It suppressed any bottom-up changes proposed by the ruling class.


Type of state, which is a result of slave states transformations. It led to origination of four social classes: gentry, clergy, bourgeoisie and peasantry. The monarch assigned some areas of land to people meritorious for the state (feudal lords), who gave the land to peasants (subjects and serf) to use.


(a) The so-called early capitalist state originated as a result of struggle between subordinated class with feudal absolutism.

As time frame of its beginnings the beginning of bourgeoisie revolution may

be assumed. Developed in France in 1789 (after the French Revolution) Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was a written articulation of a new ideology of liberalism (both economic and political) to enable economic development through free market, freedom of establishment, the inviolability of private property and the equality of all citizens before the law system.

(b) State based on monopoly capitalism—as the dominant social entity, with a highly targeted policy of protectionism. In 1918–1945 there was an increase in reliance of companies from the state, and private entrepreneurs were not able to guarantee the basic needs of the population in terms of existential living services.

(c) Liberal-democratic state—modern capitalist state, where representatives of power are chosen through democratic elections. It has a developed political system and ability to stimulate economic growth (also by the intervention); at the same time develops education, culture or system of social protection and healthcare.


Its beginnings date back to 18th century (so-called utopian socialism), developed in 19th century. It assumes elimination of private property, bases economic relationships on social value of production resources and central planning of national economy. The system assumes the leading role of the communist party, class system (working class, working peasantry, working intelligence) and power of the people

aFormally is not a type of state, but relates to despotic position of ruler

Source: own, on the basis of: Pytlik B. (2011). Forma pan´stwa, in: Wspo,łczesne pan´stwo w teorii i praktyce, ed. by. J. Oniszczuk, Oficyna Wydawnicza SGH, Warszawa, p. 98–101

assurance of safety and security dimension, referring to the idea of the common good (Bauman 2006, Raczkowski and Sienkiewicz-Małyjurek 2013):

– security—refers to social safety, freedom from poverty and want (minimum level of trade exchange),

– safety—refers to physical safety, that is freedom from unrighteous violence, attack, murder, etc. (Czapik 2009). It also means biological survival of a nation, which only when it exists is able to produce goods and services of a specified kind.

(b) State of the reason of state—developed over sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Reason of state was identified with all this, “which is necessary and sufficient for the state to maintain its coherence in all four meanings of the word state” (Foucault 2010, p. 261, translated). While the “state” consisted of: state authority domain (territory), set of principles, laws, institutions and customs on the given territory, lifestyle associated with a state (cleric, bourgeois, clerical) and maintaining status quo as a guarantor of security in internal and external areas (constancy contrasted with dynamics) (Krawczyk 2012). Existence of state as such was not the reason of state. State's interest focused on the material aspect, which should include knowledge about state's resources defined by territory (owned natural resources), population (number of citizens and its quality) and efficiency of state institutions (cohesion with state's interest). This model was characterized by state's strong desire to control the social processes, and in order to make the state the order organizations, it established the police, which was supposed to ensure the security and exercise control over the whole process of trade and movement of people. The basic economic goal of the state of reason of state was to provide and maintain low salaries, which were to guarantee low prices of goods and services, which in turn was to provide possibility of trading through exporting those goods abroad and importing gold. Gold was a kind of safety buffer for the ruler, who was able to buy any goods (export), pay the army, lead war campaigns or stimulate the economic policy of the state in such a rationing system. Law then was mainly a tool for executing authority and keeping control over the society. It was hard to find in it any noble moral norms or lex naturalis (natural law) of doing good according to God's order through free will and ration (Krawczyk 2012). G. Botero has defined the reason of state as definition of measures “with which the state builds, maintains and broadens stable authority” (Botero 1956). Its dimension is defined by long-term process of influencing and shaping of economic factors, political system, authority system, civic awareness and alliance commitments, integration and globalization (Łastawski 2009).

(c) State of minimum (where the role of state got decreased as a result of selforganising civic society) (Foucault 2010). The beginning of development of this type of state dates back to eighteenth century and is related to progress in economic sciences and exposing laissez-faire policy formulated by French school of economics—physiocracy (work and agriculture—the source of wealth). State in this model is focused on appreciation of freedom of individual and non-interfering in self-regulating economic processes (laissez-faire). State's task was then managing through using possible corrections and not participating in rationing, and the main goal of state of minimum—provision of internal order and external security. This model resembles the system of “reducing” the state through decreasing its role in the socio-economic processes. However, state of minimum should still have resources and measures for any interference within organisation of state. Thus it should remain still very strong, and this strength should be kept as if in stand-by and used only in crisis or exceptional situations. Due to the fact, that all defined states of threats (e.g. war state) or majority of them was substituted with the state of achieving safety (internal and external), the prerogatives of state authority in the state of minimum easily allow to temporarily restrict or suspend civil liberties, which in their character are dysfunctions of governance. State in this model falls under pressure of market anarchy, which through price regulation and buying national economy to a large extent takes over managing it. The emerging social rebellion associated with increased stratification of income and social exclusion of many professional groups puts pressure on the government, who, wishing to remain in power, introduces a restriction on the freedoms and civil liberties under the false pretext of security guarantee. The emerging fictitious reality is communicated in the distorted media communication to mask the increasing surveillance of citizens by the government. Such interference, which in fact is rationing of some goods and services, does not fall into state of minimum, but is rather a hybrid combination of this model of state with state of the reason of state. It can be assumed that such mixed model of organization of the state is to some extent present e.g. in the European Union, “in reference to the form of government is usually the fusion of liberal democracy with some elements of authoritarianism” (Krawczyk 2012, p. 20 and previous, translated).

More often there also occur definitions and descriptions of models of state, as (Surdej 2006):

(a) Regulating state (public governance)—whose main goal is to reduce market inefficiencies, protect customers and provide citizens with access to information. The aim of the model is making flexible rules of state influence on economy in indirect way and main areas of conflict are settled by independent courts in accordance with the idea of state ruled by law. To typical state institutions added (nominated) are organs with wide autonomy and independence (e.g. executive agencies, courts, research & development centres). The government serves its function in the spirit of openness and responding to the needs of stakeholders understood as broad instead of selected social groups. Decisions are made in legalistic way with acknowledging a widely understood social consensus and political feasibility (and not efficiency understood only in economic sense, disregarding the public function of a state). Political culture is manifested through pluralism meaning freedom of functioning of many organizations in conditions beyond control of various interest groups. The diversity of approaches is conceived positively, as an opportunity for constructive criticism identifies the best decision based on clear and transparent procedures. Political responsibility manifested through obtaining legitimacy of power obtained ex post, namely by checking whether the government actually contributed to increase of economic efficiency and improve of the organizational structures of the state in certain sectors.

(b) Actively managing state (so-called positive state or interventionist state)— which is kind of the opposite of the regulatory state (Surdej 2006). This model is focused on redistribution of national revenue and macroeconomic stabilisation. Actively managing state directly influences the economy through taxes and expenditures. Allocation of budgetary resources is made directly by the government and parliament—for all groups with claims (disregarding the nature of claims—correct, as for example in the case of pensioners, or incorrect—as in the case of public or private institutions demanding non-repayable aid, in addition without an effective recovery plan). The whole public policy in this model is conducted by the parliament (certain interest groups) and political parties, lobby groups or labour unions become the main agents of realisation of social interests. At the same time decisions made by authorities are characterized by bureaucracy and discretion. Finally, legitimisation for authority in this model is being derived from the result of elections (so-called input legitimisation).

Here it needs to be added, that “public policy is perceived as public authority making interrelated decisions and actions to achieve specific goals, where market mechanisms do not apply or alone could not operate efficiently enough” (Woz´nicki 2012, p. 133, translated) [1]. If we accept such definition, then public policy shall not be developed in the first place within the discipline of management science, and within sub-discipline, which is public management. It is not in opposition to its development in other disciplines of science, especially in political science, or public policy science additionally distinguished in some states.

More sporadically or in certain spheres of activity, one can find the states integrating the resources, where the logic of operation is based on democratic decision-making process, deliberativeness, conciliation, participation, networking, co-realization of public affairs by the public and multi-level governance (Mazur 2011a, b).

State is the organisation model, which is a system of “a team of people (or groups of them) playing—according to established rules—particular roles to achieve settled goals; main feature of the system is that on its behalf the permanent main organs make decisions and exercise authority” (Morawiecki 2012, p. 36, translated). In every modern society state is a basic institution guaranteeing legal system (Bresser-Pereira 2014).

Horizontal structure of society manifests in all forms of collective non-governmental activity of citizens: associations, institutions or other organisations, where individuals can realize own interests congruent with collective interest. From the point of view of modern societies and democratic states it seems important to discuss a sustainable horizontal structure with equal scopes of influence in the form of the so-called triangle of statehood. If we make an assumption, that it is a balanced structure, then it can be the most advantageous construction of state functioning. It needs to be remembered, that society in this approach should be in practice horizontally-oriented and at the same time decentralised. Democratic statehood triangle regarding the state, economy (market) and civic society serves the functions within:

(a) Political capital—maintaining such capital should be the main task of the state: providing the citizens with safety and stability, serving the function of a guard of interests of individual social groups within norms in force and internal principles, representing the interest of the society in international contacts and ensuring compliance with the law.

(b) Economic capital—where producing, maintaining and development of this category of capital is the main task of economy; provides material bases for functioning of the society through guaranteed welfare and profit.

(c) Human capital—whose creation is the main role of the civic society; human capital should become a non-material and moral foundation of the whole society and state (Nowiak 2011).

A strong example of vertical states are e.g., all European Union Member States, where the position of the nation states by their own choice and will has been weakened by the strengthening of individual European centres exercising political authority. Thus a classic horizontal model of separation of authority into legislative, executive and judicial has been blurred. Of course, from the formal point of view it still exists in some states, but legislative privileges and individual representative organs of nation states were moved to international level. This is why vertical structure of states in United Europe regards four levels: European, national (state), regional and local (Mys´liwiec 2009).

Verticality of state from the point of view of executed authority is differently interpreted and reflected in individual democratic states. In unitary state, the executive authority is decentralised as a result of electing local government; in regional state—the executive and legislative authority are decentralised due to general autonomy; in federal state (federation) there is a division of executive authority, legislation and jurisdiction (Izdebski 2007; Izdebski and Kulesza 2004; Mys´liwiec 2012).

On the other hand the internal processes in the state disturb its endeavours to create a coherent set of political agreements. Powerful administrative structures engage in bureaucratic games, which cannot be easily restricted by political procedures, which will set the contents of the latter. Representative political institutions, in theory occupying a central place in the whole state operations, lose their autonomy in relation to parties, which on the one hand, compete with each other for control, on the other hand, work hand in hand in order to prevent their effective monitoring from the outside, thereby driving the actual political processes (Poggi 2010).

Model of organisation of the state is also determined by its scope of sovereignty understood as government's capability to make own decisions in terms of public interest, account of costs and benefits and the reaction of other states (Morawiecki 2012).

Another type of state is its authoritarian kind, which allows to include in such a group “other than democratic states, states rejecting the idea of human rights and civic society, and systemic and legal institutions necessary for a democratic state and society under the leadership of Parliament, coming from free elections, the outcome of which decides who will govern the country” (Kulesza 2010, p. 6, translated). A narrower trend in perceiving authoritarian state regards mainly the ideology being the foundations of executed authority in a political system far from democracy. In authoritarian state, the state as the country was (or was supposed to be) the highest value for citizens and its main features are sovereignty and strength, and precedence of executive authority over legislature (Kulesza 2010).

More frequently it is spoken about a model of state ruled by law (based on law), whose beginnings date back to eighteenth century, although even ancient political ideas included some of its features. “The aim of the state ruled by law was not only restricting state authority, but binding state organs with legal norms. Law obedience should have provided a diversified set of control institutions and establishment, for guarantee of their effectiveness, of various forms of liability of people performing state functions. State ruled by law through the issued laws sets, as accurately as possible, the organisation, boundaries and forms of own activity as well as scope and ways of interfering in the sphere of individual freedom” (Pietrzak 2008).

It was ordered, that the democratic state ruled by law in the created law used the values, which would be approved by possibly largest part of a given society (Pietrzak 2008). Most of all, it is noticed, that state ruled by law is the one, where trust and social communication is built and the law contents do not obscure the objective perspective of perceiving reality. State ruled by law needs to be understood in its structure, susceptible to judicial review (during objective correctness, not bureaucratically and idle elongated form of limitation), and facilitate access to justice for all interested parties (and not individuals or selected groups) (Łe˛towska 2008). Some democratic states sometimes do not have anything in common with the notion of state ruled by law, at least in opinion of a large part of society.

  • [1] From this perspective, we should consider whether on the basis adopted in Poland it was not a mistake to isolate another scientific discipline—the public policy science—and assigning its metascientific specialities. Would it not be better to develop the already existing scientific disciplines, create new subdisciplines and specialities?
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