Federal system where there is a strong federal government and weaker provincial governments, there is centripetal federalism. The opposite of centripetal federalism is centrifugal federalism, where power would be dispersed from the centre to the provincial governments.
Federalism is asymmetrical where a federal system of government does not accord precisely the same legal powers and areas of jurisdiction to all its constituent states or provinces.
Federalism can act in two directions:
There can be a centrifugally acting federalism, its direction is away from the center in order to achieve diversity in unity by taking away power from the general government to strengthen the parts.
Centripetal federalism strives, on the other hand, to unite separate entities
without sacrificing the autonomy of the members.
Federalism could be called also the federal principle or the federal idea. It explains more than just the legalistic and institutional aspects of this political method. Here are the more enlightening definitions of federalism:
Lang explains federalism by saying: "Its aim is diversity within unity and pointing out that federalism's transcendent or universal character penetrates, but does not absorb. The interaction of each federated part creates an organic unity that avoids a chaos of the dynamic parts. There is an interdependence between the particular and the universal. A federal polity is not an aggregate of its component members, it is not the sum of its local and general governments, it is a synthesis which is greater than, and different from the congregation of its parts. Federalism is a means for establishing order without sacrificing freedom among states that refuse to be amalgamated but realize that they must be united. Federalism, however, is more than political mechanics, it is also a symbol of union. Where there is federalism, political bodies have decided to accomplish some purpose in common, to some degree, under a rule of law. Since the federal structure must rest upon consent as well as a collective purpose, it cannot be imperially imposed. Federalism is simultaneously a political technique and a social synthesis; if is a method, an ideal, a mechanism and a symbol."
Mogi, the Indian scholar of federalism gives the following interesting definition:
"The federal idea is the formation of harmony between plurality and unity on the
basis of pragmatic utilitarianism on the ethical basis,'. Mogi thinks that the federal
idea is not confined to the political sphere of the state, but is the general basis of
human organization. "The federal idea is the spirit of the pragmatic interdependence
of the pluralistic universe and its theory is the basis of human association of any kind.
I may describe the new federative theory as the applied science of that pluralism, which
is the guiding principle of the theory on which the harmony between unity and plurality is
based, or, in other words, the theory of equilibrium."