Conditions for the Division of Power and the People’s Position

Fixing Vulnerabilities in the Tripartite Separation of Powers (Part I)

1. Introduction

We, VECTION, are preparing an essay on the preferable way of dividing power in governance. In this essay, we study the current division of power and propose a new approach. So, as the first step toward this goal, the tripartite separation of powers will be examined.

Let us first briefly present the key issues. We believe that the following three premises are necessary to prevent power from getting out of control and corrupting to maintain a fair division of power.

(1) Not to accept a permanent and absolute authority (i.e., king).

(2) Not to rely on the neutrality of a third party (i.e., external to power) to supervise the fair practice of divided powers.

And to achieve (2), it is essential to

(3) Avoid an endless addition of surveillance (new meta-level), such as those who monitor power and those who monitor ……..

In sum, no king, no outside, and no meta of meta are all required to be cleared.

The separation of powers among the “judiciary, executive, and legislature” in modern states, is designed initially to decompose the power of the absolute monarchy, so the point of “no king” is cleared. Besides, it can achieve the requirement of “no outside” and “no meta of meta” by mutual restraint of the three powers.

However, if there is a structure like a “hidden king” there, it becomes a different story. Is the tripartite separation of powers a fair division of power that satisfies the premises above?

In this essay, starting with an examination of the current tripartite separation of powers, we show that it is actually a two-tiered layer structure of “government” and “the people.” Then, it confirms the fact that there is a third layer called “the world.” By considering the division of power as a three-layer cycle formed by the three layers, we show that it is possible to express a state that satisfies all the requirements of “no king,” “no outside,” and “no meta of meta,” which cannot be thought in a two-layer structure such as the current tripartite separation of powers.

2. The People are Outside the Tripartite Separation of Powers

A diagram like the one below usually explains the tripartite separation of powers. Here, it is essential to note that the people are, perhaps surprisingly, outside the three powers in the tripartite separation of powers. We will consider the importance and implications of this point next.

Tripartite Separation of Powers
Tripartite Separation of Powers

Credits: Original idea by Asaki NISHIKAWA, Draft written by Toshihiro FURUYA, Drawing by Yoshimi KIKUYA, Simultaneous editing by VECTION