The challenge of Global Democracy.

Source: Suberu Salam. Stockholm Sweden

We have now seen that Globalization has encouraged a shift in government off the world away from a single focus on the state-system to a multilayered complex of rule-making and other creation where no location is sovereign. Politics now lacks a clear center of command and control of the kind previously provided by the Westphallan state. In addition, considerable initiative in the construction of norms is now found outside public-sector bodies, namely, market agents and social movements. What do these developments imply for democracy?

Democracy- rule by the people-is widely regarded to be the central legitimating ethic of modern governance. Although definitions of democracy and mechanisms to achieve it have shown considerable diversity from one country and time period to the next, there is a broad and fairly solid consensus in today`s world that good governance means democratic governance that serves the national interest as a whole.

At first glance globalization might seem to offer possibilities for enhancing democracy, but, globalization has been unraveling state sovereignty, and there has always been a fundamental tension between sovereignty and democracy. Sovereignty implies comprehensive, supreme, unqualified, and exclusive power, whereas democracy is generally presumed to rest on limited, dispersed, conditional, and collective power. Even where government are popularly elected, there remains a potentially dangerous concentration of sovereignty ought, in principle, to present opportunities for increasing democracy.

Some enthusiasts have assumed that globalization would ne two sides of the same coin. Adopting this perspective, liberalists have celebrated a worldwide wind of democratic change in the late twentieth century with the collapse of apartheid, fascist governments and the so called communism plus other oneparty systems.

However, multiparty competition has not by itself provided a guarantee for greater popular participation in the control of the state. Countless governments continue habitually to violate human rights in the current time of globalization. Meanwhile even those states who receive top rating from Amnesty International rarely consult their populations specifically on global policies. Citizens rarely have any significant say in the state`s decision whether or not to adopt IMF structural adjustment programme for example. Moreover, even the state fully to involve its resident in these matters, national governments often, as we have seen, have limited control over the global flows. To this extent the state does not offer the means to secure the popular will in relation to global capital, global ecological problems, and so on, democratically run government has to be supplemented, perhaps replaced, by other instruments and institutions.

Global Governance Democratic and their Agencies
Unfortunately, global governance agencies do not at the moment provide the necessary further guarantee of democracy. To begin with, there is very little direct popular involvement in these institutions. Most meetings of the World Bank Board of Governors, the European Council of Ministers, the UN Security Council, al the G7s, G8s and now G40 plus much other such decision –taking bodies are held behind closed doors. Moreover, most of the word citizens especially those of the so called third world, Africa, Asia and Latin America are completely ignorant of the day-to-day workings of these bodies. The organizations are largely reams of technopolitics where economists, accountant, managers, engineers, chemists, lawyer under the strict instruction from the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Super Power Nations, and other experts from the developing nations largely exempted from democratic scrutiny. When their policies have unhappy consequences as in the case of the detrimental welfare effects of many structural adjustment policies, for instances the agencies concerned are not held formally and publicly accountable.

Elsewhere, at a certain time the reservation of permanent membership and veto powers in the Security Council to five States is democratically unjustifiable. So too, are quota- base votes in the IMF and World Bank , where one-quarter of the member states control three quarters of the votes. The undemocratic character of global governance agencies is been increasingly acknowledged. Some limited steps have been taken since the late 1980s to increase popular access and direct participation in the super state governance.

Most of these organizations have also moved towards public disclosure of information concerning their operations. However such reforms are few in numbers and half measures at best. Proposal for more far reaching democratization have so far gone nowhere.

Democracy is in a precarious position across all area of contemporary governance in the present day of globalization world, the construction and implementation of rules occurs mainly through elite competition rather than through representative, let alone participatory, democracy, at the moment it is unclear whether and how democracy can be realized in the emergent globalized future. Hence imaginative rethinking of democracy is arguably the prime task facing political theory today.

Globalization makes it impossible to achieve democracy solely through the state, global governance agencies suffer from severe democratic deficit, global governance by the market implies deep inequalities and the rule of efficiency over democracy and finally global social movement too and generally have shaky democratic credentials.

By: Suberu Salam. Stockholm Sweden


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