A Path for Democracy Beyond the Nation-State
The author argues that globalisation has resulted in the creation of many regional, transnational and global governance institutional networks (which the author calls 'regime complexes') that include nation-states, civil society groups and even private actors. These 'regime complexes' have varying degrees of authoritative and regulatory capacity across a variety of areas including finance, military affairs, the environment, health, trade and many others.
He argues these regime complexes suffer from a 'democratic deficit', that is, they possess and exercise political authority but do not operate according to democratic norms or standards.
The author recognises the many obstacles to developing representative or deliberative democratic Western-style models in these networks. As a first step, he proposes the inclusion of three democratic values:
- Equal participation: state and non-state actors alike participate in negotiations, bargaining and rules-setting; and weaker actors have options for regime shifting, lobbying and impacting agendas
- Accountability: all participants are held accountable to sets of previously agreed rules
- Institutional revisability: the scope, goals, rules, etc. of the regime complex are open to continual review and change.
The author argues that instilling these values will require continual experimentation. By their very nature, regime complexes are 'evolving, dynamic, and contested sites of governance' and he believes they provide the best possible scaffolding to begin creating trans-national democratic governance.
Thumbnail image: fdecomite/Flickr.