Democracy within Globalization for the Benefit of Humanity

•Essay 2 response for PS 1000, Wayne State, Fall 2012.
•Example of teaching/learning mechanism: compare your essay to mine.
•Niche audience: international relations / comparativists / democratic development.

ARTICLE: Henry Teune. Global Democracy. Annals of the American Academy of Political
and Social Science, Vol. 581, Globalization and Democracy (May, 2002), pp.
22-34.

Democracy lassoes in individuals within a country in order to solve collective action problems based under rules of equality and accountability. Globalization lassoes in many state social and economic systems in order to increase global reach and market productivity.

Democracy and globalization are separate structures under the umbrella of development. Teune’s contribution begins with a determination that “without democracy, globalization could not continue in a peaceful, orderly fashion” (23). Since both require interdependence of groups, high inclusion, systems autonomy and greater equality in order to accomplish growth and stability, democracy and globalization may trump other types of structures which reduce the will of the median voter.

Globalization creates a world market amidst decentralized but integrated systems. Democratization is the state’s internal development of everyday political interests (25). Today, “the dynamics of globalization-democratization are unstable, and destabilization is an ever-present possibility, especially in new democracies” (27). The median voter desires a democracy in a developing country because globalization does not care about the median voter‘s will in emerging markets. For example, global companies care about costs and profits—in increasing productivity—which may want to reduce the capacity of the median voter to bargain for fair compensation.

Many democracies are underdeveloped. For instance, Teune explains that America would not have been a democracy for most of its history considering the inclusive / equality definition of democracy today (29). In short, globalization can help democratization because globalization produces inclusive structures that bypass the state. Thus, de jure excluded groups may be included groups in the global market—excluded groups may receive legitimacy as an in-group globally. Further, the United Nations may use the courts or other measures in order to increase human rights and civil rights for people in undemocratic states.

Teune describes how democracy might develop globally because of globalization. The first stage is described in the former paragraph. As global pressure for inclusion and equality mount from globalization, the second stage [i.e. participatory democracy] initiates. The rights of the people to join organizations and vote are not infringed, and linkage propels democracy onward. As transparency develops and reaches the peoples’ hearts, the third stage commences. Now, “distributive democracy” promotes the welfare state, which at minimum requires adequate diet for all citizens. Midway, education is guaranteed. At distributive democracy’s best, the welfare state provides the equal opportunity so that all “individuals can acquire resources so that their particular talents and preferences can be realized” (30). Finally, the fourth stage of democratic development, substantive democracy, begins. The state is characterized as a good and just polity, where decentralized states have open access to a fully functional democratic system (30).

Teune contends that international elites within the system of globalization should become more democratic. Unfortunately, international elites of global industry don’t play by the rules of democracy. Their information is often not available to the public, nor can these elites punish or reward independent territories. However, the international elites can speak on behalf of their workers. Second, the global norms of trade and exchange may be regulated in order to increase democratic ideals (e.g., WTO), but this still requires action by the people. Third, scientific norms and standards should continue to roll-out the professional standards, which should limit anti-democratic functions (32). Finally, the arts and entertainment (culture) are political by nature and may help increase democratization (32).

In conclusion, Teune is advancing research paths for analyzing global democracy, not internal democratization. To be sure, “…for global democracy, it must proceed without the support and resources of national governments” (32). Analysis may come from international agendas, such as environmentalism. Further, scientists must begin to map out the “blueprints for a global democratic order” (33). This research would certainly create a new “median voter,” and I suspect s/he is living on less than $500 a year. The moral hazard within globalization is its potential to diminish, or indeed wipe-out, smaller cultures and economic structures. And that is why democracy and globalization are separate structures under the umbrella of development.

Teune’s contribution is to illuminate the potential for democracy to be integrated within globalization for the benefit of humanity–for the betterment of the average human being on Earth.

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One thought on “Democracy within Globalization for the Benefit of Humanity

  1. Pingback: “Course Pack” for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Course | Political Pipeline

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