Nov 8, 2017 in Sociology

Legal Authority

Max Weber noted that beliefs in the legitimacy of a political entity go beyond philosophy; they directly lead to the authority and state system stability. All leaders have an explanation for their authority and superiority. He noted that there are three pure types of legitimization strategies. First, there is legal authority. It is based on a set of rules that are applied judicially and administratively, in accordance with determined principles. The people who enforce these rules are elected or appointed through legal procedures. Leaders are subject to the rules that monitor the use of their powers. These rules also separate their official duties from their private lives and require written documentation. Traditional authority is a kind of authority that is based on what has been a people’s practice over time. Traditional authority is inherited. Charismatic authority, on the other hand, is legitimacy power enforced on subjects based on the magical powers, heroism and prophesies of a leader. The subjects base their respect for the leader on the unique abilities or charisma of the leader.

A news article Report Card on Health Care Reform appeared in the Newyork times paper and website. It is reported that congressional republican leaders regularly denouce the Affordable Care Act of 2010. It is also reported that the law’s main elements will become active in January 2014. The bill was passed amid a huge debate on the kind of benefits that Americans would get. The law is acclaimed for the gradual successes in the health sector such as helping  people risking loss of insurance and people with chronic health problems. Dependent children up to 26 years of age are now being given dependent coverage by insurance companies. Children  with pre-existing conditions are also covered. All insurers are currently required to offer preventive services. The law allocated $11 billion for construction and operation of health sectors. $ 5 billion have been allocated for a reinsurance program aimed at retention of coverage for retirees and their families.

I chose this article because it helps connect legal authority, one of Weber’s sources of legitimacy, to current affairs in the United States. The article mentions various applications of legal authority such as reform, budgeting, regulation and implementation. The article has examples of checks and balances in government.

The theory of legitimacy helps understand the news article. First, elected and appointed leaders in the United States have used legal/rational authority to pass the health reform bills. Secondly, Republican leaders are using their legitimate authority to raise objections with regard to the issue. They have used this authority to show direction and leadership in several sectors of the economy, one of which is the health sector. The current administration has succeeded in the increasing insurance coverage to all Americans. Thirdly, while initiating reform, they have applied determined principles of economic growth and equality among others. They have used the authority bestowed in them to pass the bill. Fourthly, possible excesses of use of power have been monitored. Through representation, the wishes of most Americans have been granted. Fifthly, leaders are currently using all constitutional measures to ensure that insurance companies, health institutions and other stakeholders comply with the new law. They are using legal authority to allocate funds.

The news article has helped to understand the theory of legitimacy. It has examples regarding the principles of the legitimate authority. For example, through the mention of the objections of Republican leaders, we are able to understand some of the roles of representative authority such as checking the activities of the government. We are also able to understand the basis of their legitimacy. Some activities and reform programs the United States government expects American insurance companies to initiate or enforce are mentioned. Implementation is based on the binding decisions of legal authority.

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