Preference Between Rule by Order and Rule of Law by
During the pandemic crisis, a government
is supposed to expand its role and actively engage in social life to protect
public health and social sustainability; however, there could be disproportionate
use of force and excessive exercise of governmental authority. For years, the
rule of law has been regarded as the founding principle of democracy. It is
foundational to people’s access to public services, curbing corruption,
restraining the abuse of power, and to establishing the social contract between
people and the state. Also, the rule of law is a core element of the
humanitarian and human rights agendas.
However, the unprecedented COVID-19 has the potential for abuse of the
situation and a negative impact on the rule of law. For understanding global
citizens’ deliberation on discretional power during a state of emergency, we
surveyed citizens of 30 global cities whether they think it is always
justifiable regardless of the law or they reckon that it should be only within the
procedure and confines of the law.
We define discretional power that is
always tolerable as “Rule by Order”, and that is not always permitted and
should be confined within the law as “Rule of Law”. This analysis will focus on
whether citizens are allowing a government to have discretional power during an
abnormal time or not.
Survey Question II-3: “The options below
show two divergent opinions about how to respond to the recent state of
emergency. On a scale from 1-10, please identify the point you feel most closely
matches your opinion. Discretional power during a state of emergency is always
justifiable regardless of the law and discretional power is only justifiable
within the procedure and confines of the law.”
The answers consist of a 10-point scale,
with higher scores indicating an individual who emphasizes more on the rule of
law and lower scores demonstrating a person who underlines rule by order.
Table 1: Rule by Order Index (ROI) and
Rule of Law Index (RLI)
by Citizens of 30 Global Cities
Rule by Order Index (ROI) represents
citizens’ allowance of a government on discretional power during the crisis,
and the higher the score is, the more an individual permit on discretional
power regardless of the law. Contrarily, the higher Rule of Law Index (RLI)
score is, the more a citizen highlight the rule of law, and less likely to
tolerate any discretional power out of the law. The average scores of each city
indicate the Rule of Law Index (RLI), and 11 minus RLI demonstrates Rule by
Order Index (ROI). The numerical differences between the two were calculated in
order to show which side a city is putting more allowance. To illustrate,
negative numbers of the numerical differences imply that citizens of that city
put more stress on the rule of law rather than rule by order. Also, the lower a
numerical difference is, the fewer citizens of the city tolerate the
discretional power out of law during the crisis.
Table 2: Average Rule of Law Index
(RLI) by Region
Average Rule of Law Index (1 – 10)
The scores in the
table are the average Rule of Law Index (RLI) of the global citizens by region.
To be specific, the lowest score of 5.46 was rated by East Asian citizens on
average. It demonstrates that people in this region tend to deem that the law
could be broken at a time of crisis. On the contrary, the highest score of 6.44
was rated by Latin American citizens, which illustrates that people here
highlight the most on the rule of law than the rule by order.
Figure 1: Bar Graph of Average
Rule of Law Index by Region
Figure 1 is the
visualized graph of Table 2, and the orange line is the world average Rule of
Law Index. The graph identifies that South/Southeast Asia, Latin America, and
Europe are more inclined to protect the rule of law when compared to other
regions in the world. On the other hand, East Asian people are showing the
least interest in guarding the law during the pandemic crisis. This outcome is
totally distinguished from the previous analysis on Government Decisions Index
and Citizen Requests Index, in which South/Southeast Asian citizens show a high
interest in the government’s role, however, they still are not willing any
discretional power of a government beyond the law. Nevertheless, a high RLI
does not simply indicate that the region’s governance is under the good
guidance of the rule of law. South/Southeast Asian and Latin American citizens’
belief that the rule of law is more crucial than the rule by order may be due
to the lack of the rule of law in the region.
Figure 2: Line Graph of Rule of Law
Index (RLI) and Rule by Order Index (ROI)
To identify the preference for rule of law
and rule by order during the emergency by each city, a line graph is drawn, as
seen in Figure 2. The most
outstanding finding of Figure 2 is that most of RLIs are higher than ROIs. It demonstrates
that citizens generally regard that the law should be obeyed even during the
state of emergency. This result is different from the previous analysis which shows
that most cities rely more on governments than civil society. Even though
people would like to give much room for governments to make decisions in the
midst of the crisis, they generally would not allow a government to break the
law and go beyond the rule of law. However, citizens in South Korea, Japan, and
Taiwan think highly of the government’s role and they could tolerate the
discretional power regardless of the law.
Figure 3: Bar Graph of Numerical Difference
between Government Decisions Index (GDI) and Citizen Requests Index (CRI)
between ROIs and RLIs are drawn as a bar graph, shown in Figure 2. The orange
bar indicates the global average difference score (-0.87). The bigger the
difference scores, the more citizens are weighing on the rule of law even in
the middle of the emergency. However, South Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese regard
the rule of law less seriously than citizens in other parts of the world. All in
all, since the global average is a negative number, and therefore, generally
speaking, global citizens assume that the rule is ought to be obeyed and the decision-making
procedure should be within the law.
and Further Tasks
speaking, global citizens regard the rule of law as important.
citizens prioritize rule of law than rule by order during the COVID-19 era
since the numeric difference scores of Rule or Order Index (ROI) and Rule of
Law Index (RLI) are negative. Yet, Seoul, Daegu, Osaka, Tokyo, and Taipei show
the positive difference between the two, implying that the citizens in these
cities tolerate the discretional power regardless of the law during the crisis.
Asian, Latin American, and European average RLIs are higher than the global
average, indicating these regions are sensitive about defending the rule of law.
study is limited to descriptive research, and therefore, a more detailed
explanative investigation is required to further understand the global citizens’
consciousness presented above. For instance, rule of law has been an important
value deemed by Americans for decades, but why North American citizens
represented by citizens in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto are showing less
interest in rule of law? Why people in East Asia consider the discretional
power is justifiable regardless of the law? Followed by the previous COVID-19
analysis 4.3 (GDI and CRI), how come Japanese stress on citizens’ requests and
rule by the order simultaneously?