Subsidiarity, Democracy and Individual Liberty in Brazil

  • Augusto ZimmermannEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 37)


Subsidiarity holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more distant level of power which can be done as well by a smaller and closer level of power. In other words, anything that can be performed by a more decentralized entity should not be done by a more centralized one. As such, subsidiarity can be seen as a bulwark of limited government and individual liberty, conflicting with the desire for bureaucratic centralization which is characteristic of the welfare state. First, this chapter contains a general discussion of subsidiarity and its ability to enhance democracy and individual liberty. This discussion is followed by a critical analysis of how individual autonomy and dignity are undermined by the welfare state. Finally, the chapter discusses the centralising, statist nature of the Brazilian government, thus highlighting subsidiarity’s potential to enhance democracy and individual liberty in Brazil.


Brazil Brazilian Constitution Welfare state Centralisation Human rights Democracy Statism Centralisation Individual liberty 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Murdoch University School of LawPerthAustralia

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