Journal 1: Can globalization be democratic?
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Journal 1: Can globalization be democratic?

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    Journal 1: Can globalization be democratic? Journal 1: Can globalization be democratic? Document Transcript

    • Can  globalization  be  democratic?     Journal  entry  17/09/2010   Steven  Lauwers       A  question  that  I  could  not  answer  for  myself  when  going  through  this  week’s  readings   is  how  globalization  is,  or  can  be,  governed.  Prof.  Dr.  H.  Anheier  ended  his  lecture  with   the  remark  that,  because  of  design  problems,  globalization  might  not  be  manageable  as   the  phenomenon  of  globalization  goes  beyond  the  forces  that  are  in  place  to  control  it.   But  what  forces  control  it  and  more  importantly,  who  “governs”  these  forces?     Robert   O.   Keohane   and   Joseph   S.   Nye   dismiss   the   idea   of   global   democracy   as   infeasible:   a   simple   definition   of   democracy   is   a   majority   rule,   but   the   critical   question  in  view  of   global   governance   is:   who   are   “we   the   people?”1   They   classify   global   governance   procedures   in   three   broad   categories:   intergovernmental   and   transgovernmental   governance   and   popular   politics.   If   we   look   at   Intergovernmental   Organizations,   they   derive   their   legitimacy   from   the   fact   that   they   are   given   authority   by   governments,   which   in   turn   were   chosen   through   national   electorates.2   So,   in   that   regard,   they   are   international   institutions   built   on   the   democratic   principle.   But   does   that   mean   that   these   institutions   strive   to   obtain   results   that   are   democratic   for   everybody   that   is   involved  –  or  only  those  that  are  beneficial  for  the  members  of  the  organization?     Joseph   Stiglitz   calls   this   particular   situation   “global   governance   without   global   government”:   key   regimes,   “clubs”   as   Robert   O.   Keohane   and   Joseph   S.   Nye   call   them,   “provide   an   ad   hoc   system   of   global   governance,   but   it   is   a   far   cry   from   global   government   and   lacks   democratic   accountability”.   3   In   his   text,   he   focuses   on   the   International   Monetary   Fund   (IMF)   as   a   key   player   in   globalization.   When   the   IMF   pushed   trade   liberalization,   based   on   their   “superior   knowledge”,   the   international   arena  gave  disproportionate  weight  to  voices  from  the  financial  community  by  accepting   and   implementing   the   rules   that   IMF   set.   One   could   conclude   from   his   text   that   globalization  is  driven,  and  thus  determined,  by  the  global  market.  Or  more  specifically   by  the  elite  “club”  that  is  the  IMF.  Is  it  right  for  the  rich  countries  to  assume  they  are  “the   invisible  hand”  that  molds  –  via  the  IMF  –  the  global  market  economy?                                                                                                                   1  Keohane,  Robert  O.  and  Nye  Joseph  S.,  2002,  Governance  in  a  Globalizing  World,  p.  23   2  Keohane,  Robert  O.  and  Nye  Joseph  S.,  2002,    idem;  p.  9   3  Stiglitz,  J.,  2004,  Globalism’s  Discontents,  p.  5  
    •   There   is   no   denying   that   governments   and   global   governance   are   intertwined.4   The   question  is  then  how  governments  can  influence  globalization  in  a  way  that  it  becomes   more  democratic;  but  also  if  they  want  to  make  global  governance  truly  democratic,  as  it   would  mean  looking  past  their  own  interests.  How  can  globalization  benefit  all  that  are   part  of  it,  when  the  idea  that  drives  it  is  personal  benefit?                                                                                                                     4  Keohane,  Robert  O.  and  Nye  Joseph  S.,  2002,    idem;  xx