Contemporary states – European in particular – are great in terms of the scope of tasks of their governments, but weak in terms of their ability to carry out these tasks efficiently. This was our initial thesis. We attempted to formulate a number of hypotheses explaining why this is the case. Very significant are the expectations that are attached to a modern state which would have earlier been distributed among the church, community, different gilds, and the family. Expectations, often not very realistic, motivate the growth of the state; however various factors, or forces, act against it. We divided these into external and internal, giving a special position to human rights, which operate across the board.
As external limits on the power of the state we identified the deepening of relations within the international community, international law, European integration and the law connected with it, and also slightly less personal processes such as globalisation.
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