According to DigoPaul, the verb confer comes from the Latin word conferre and refers to granting, adjudicating or attributing a right, a position or a faculty to an individual. Conferring can also consist of designating a non-physical quality to something or someone.
For example: “The jury decided to confer the award on a 20-year-old young writer from Córdoba”, “I think that the change in tactics will give the team greater strength”, “The government should give priority to children and retirees at the time of distributing social aid ”.
Suppose the directors of a cultural association decide to begin awarding an annual award to a painter or sculptor who stands out for his contributions to the art world. For this they summon three recognized personalities to form the jury. These members of the jury, after debating and analyzing different possibilities, decide to confer the award on a certain artist: that is, they grant him the recognition in question for his merits.
Municipal authorities in a town, meanwhile, can implement a system of licenses to authorize local artisans to offer their creations in public. In this framework, they are in charge of granting said permits according to the fulfillment of different requirements: those who wish to access the licenses must be residents of the municipality and do not have to have stable work, to name two of the requirements.
Finally, the members of a club can confer on the president of the institution the power to increase the quota in order to raise additional funds that will be used for the construction of a new sports center.
If we look for a moment at the Spanish Crown, for example, a number of functions called ‘relational’, where the royal acts are included with the Government and the Parliament. Within this group of functions are those whose objective is to improve or complete the acts emanating from the other bodies, whether they come from the Cortes Generales or the Government.
The Cortes Generales can sanction and promulgate laws, call elections and the Cortes themselves, as well as dissolve them; The Government, for its part, has the power to propose the candidate for President, appoint and organize Government posts, confer military and civilian jobs, as well as distinctions and honors, and issue the decrees that the Council of Ministers previously approves.
With regard to the power to confer military and civilian jobs, it is necessary that this appointment be made following the laws to the letter. In other words, it is a legal configuration function; According to certain authors, the King has a margin of initiative in this attribution, although it must first be consulted by the Government and, once completed, the act must be countersigned.
In short, the verb confer refers to giving a third party a power that, in principle, could be the one who grants it but, for certain reasons, “prefers” that the other is in charge of administering it. This entails a series of risks, since when conferring a power or authority certain expectations are also sown which, if not fulfilled, can have consequences of different degrees, depending on the case.
As expressed in the previous examples, the government and the authorities are the figures to whom the country confers a series of powers to guarantee the well-being and development of its people, although it is known that they do not always meet these objectives. There are many stories of corruption and abuse of authority by those who should set an example to the people, and they show the greatest risks of this granting of power.