Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Inconveniences of Transnational Democracy

Abstract

Despite some limited moves toward openness and accountability, suprastate policy formation in such bodies as the World Trade Organization remains fundamentally exclusive of individuals within states. This article critiques the “don't kill the goose” arguments commonly offered in defense of such exclusions. It highlights similarities between those arguments and past arguments for elitist forms of democracy, where strict limitations are advocated on the participation of nonelites in the name of allowing leaders to act most effectively in the broad public interest. Advocated here is movement toward a strongly empowered WTO parliamentary body that would be guided in practice by a principle of democratic symmetry, attempting to match input to the increasing impacts of WTO governance. A parliament with codecision powers broadly similar to those of the European Parliament is offered as a long-term institutional ideal.

Copyright
References
Hide All

Notes

1 Pascal Lamy, “What Are the Options After Seattle?” (speech to the European Parliament, Brussels, January 25, 2000); available at http:\\europa.eu.int/comm/archives/commission_1999_2004/lamy/speeches_articles/spla09_en.htm. See also Erika Mann, “A Parliamentary Dimension to the WTO—More Than Just a Vision?” Journal of International Economic Law 7, no. 3 (2004), p. 662.

2 Pascal Lamy, “Opening Address, Twelfth Session of the Steering Committee—Parliamentary Conference on the WTO” (Geneva, June 22, 2006); available at http:\\www.wto.org/english/news_e/sppl_e/sppl30_e.htm.

3 Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Kent Jones, Who's Afraid of the WTO? (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Fiona McGillivray, “Democratizing the World Trade Organization,” Hoover Institution Essays in Public Policy No. 105 (October 2000); and Mike Moore, A World Without Walls: Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

4 See Gregory Shaffer, “Parliamentary Oversight of WTO Rule-Making: The Political, Normative, and Practical Contexts,” Journal of International Economic Law 7, no. 3 (2004), pp. 629–54; Americo Beviglia Zampetti, “Democratic Legitimacy in the World Trade Organization: The Justice Dimension,” Journal of World Trade 37, no. 1 (2003), pp. 105–26; and Kobsak Chutikul, “Options for a Parliamentary Dimension of the WTO,” Parliamentary Conference on the WTO (February 18, 2003); available at http:\\www.ipu.org/splz-e/trade03/2c.pdf.

5 Robert O. Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Between Centralization and Fragmentation: The Club Model of Multilateral Cooperation and Problems of Democratic Legitimacy,” Kennedy School of Government Faculty Research Working Paper No. 01-004 (February 2001); available at http:\\papers.ssrn.com/paper.taf?abstract_id = 262175; and Alec Stone Sweet, “The New GATT: Dispute Resolution and the Judicialization of the Trade Regime,” in Mary Volcansek, ed., Law Above Nations: Supranational Courts and the Legalization of Politics (Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 1997), p. 118.

6 Keohane and Nye, “Between Centralization and Fragmentation”; and Sweet, “The New GATT,” in Volcansek, ed., Law Above Nations, pp. 118–41.

7 See Ruth W. Grant and Robert O. Keohane, “Accountability and Abuses of Power in World Politics,” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (2005), p. 31.

8 See Jackie Smith, “Globalizing Resistance: The Battle of Seattle and the Future of Social Movements,” Mobilization 6, no. 1 (2001), pp. 1–19; on the broadening of some delegations, see Brian Hocking, “Changing the Terms of Trade Policy Making,” World Trade Review 3, no. 1 (2004), pp. 3–26.

9 Eric Stein, “International Integration and Democracy: No Love at First Sight,” American Journal of International Law 95, no. 3 (2001), pp. 505–06.

10 McGillivray, “Democratizing the World Trade Organization,” p. 2. Such mobilization dynamics were highlighted in the seminal work by Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971); see also Jagdish Bhagwati, Free Trade Today (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), p. 48; and Jones, Who's Afraid of the WTO?, chap. 2.

11 McGillivray, “Democratizing the World Trade Organization,” pp. 7–9; see also Moore, A World Without Walls, pp. 120–21.

12 World Trade Organization, “Ten Common Misunderstandings About the WTO: The WTO is Not the Tool of Powerful Lobbies”; available at http:\\www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/10mis_e/10m08_e.htm.

13 Jones, Who's Afraid of the WTO?, pp. 180–82; and Moore, A World Without Walls, p. 201.

14 Robert Dahl, “Can International Organizations be Democratic? A Skeptic's View,” in Ian Shapiro and Casiano Hacker-Cordon, eds., Democracy's Edges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 19–36; see also Giandomenico Majone, Dilemmas of European Integration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), chap. 2.

15 Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 3rd ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1962); John Medearis, Joseph Schumpeter's Two Theories of Democracy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001); and Ian Shapiro, The State of Democratic Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

16 See Robert E. Goodin, Reflective Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), chap. 5; and Andrew Kuper, Democracy Beyond Borders: Justice and Representation in Global Institutions (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 96–100.

17 David Held, Models of Democracy, 2nd ed. (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1995), p. 198.

18 Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, pp. 260–64.

19 Jones, Who's Afraid of the WTO?, p. 37; see also McGillivray, Democratizing the World Trade Organization, p. 2.

20 Andrew Moravcsik, “Is There a ‘Democratic Deficit’ in World Politics? A Framework for Analysis,” Government and Opposition 39, no. 2 (2004), p. 344; available at http:\\www.princeton.edu/~amoravcs/library/framework.pdf. See also Jones, Who's Afraid of the WTO?, p. 199.

21 Jose Nun, Democracy: Government of the People or Government of the Politicians? David Haskel and Guillermo Haskel, trans. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), p. 15; Peter Bachrach, The Theory of Democratic Elitism (New York: Little, Brown, 1967); and Held, Models of Democracy, pp. 193–94.

22 Eric M. Uslaner, “Trade Winds: NAFTA and the Rational Public,” Political Behavior 25, no. 4 (1998), pp. 341–60.

23 Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization, p. 232; and Gregory C. Shaffer, “The World Trade Organization Under Challenge: Democracy and the Law and Politics of the WTO's Treatment of Trade and Environment Matters,” Harvard Environmental Law Review 25, no. 1 (2001), pp. 52–55.

24 Steven R. Weisman and Alexei Barrionuevo, “Failure of Global Trade Talks is Traced to the Power of Farmers,” New York Times, July 27, 2006, p. A-1.

25 Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization, p. 83; see also Darrel Moellendorf, “The World Trade Organization and Egalitarian Justice,” Metaphilosophy 36, nos. 1–2 (2005), pp. 145–62.

26 See also Inge Kaul, Pedro Conceicao, Katell Le Goulven, and Ronald U. Mendoza, Providing Global Public Goods: Managing Globalization (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 27–28; and David Held, Global Covenant: The Social Democratic Alternative to the Washington Consensus (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004), chap. 6.

27 On briefs allowed in some WTO dispute cases, and resistance to the practice by some member states, see Robert Howse, “Membership and Its Privileges: The WTO, Civil Society, and the Amicus Brief Controversy,” European Law Journal 9, no. 4 (2003), pp. 496–510; and David A. Wirth, “International Decisions, European Communities—Measures Affecting Asbestos and Asbestos-Containing Products,” American Journal of International Law 96, no. 2 (2002), pp. 438–39.

28 The case, 17/74, Transocean Marine Paint Association v. Commission, 1974 ECR 1063, is discussed in the context of the right to a fair hearing in Francesca Bignami, “Three Generations of Participation Rights in European Administrative Proceedings,” Law and Contemporary Problems 68, no. 1 (2005), pp. 61–83.

29 Bignami, “Three Generations of Participation Rights,” pp. 64–65.

30 See Richard Briffault, “Public Funding and Democratic Elections,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 148, no. 2 (1999), pp. 563–90.

31 John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, Currin V. Shields, ed. (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958), p. 43.

32 Charles Beitz, Political Equality: An Essay in Democratic Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989); Goodin, Reflective Democracy; and Shapiro, The State of Democratic Theory, pp. 52–55. Shapiro defends a version of competitive elitism augmented by input mechanisms as the best means of reducing domination in societies; see also Robert Dahl, Democracy and Its Critics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), pp. 100–101.

33 Shapiro, The State of Democratic Theory, pp. 39–43.

34 See Charles Beitz, “Cosmopolitanism and Global Justice,” Journal of Ethics 9, nos. 1–2 (2005), p. 24.

35 Loren King, “Deliberation, Legitimacy, and Multilateral Democracy,” Governance 16, no. 1 (2003), p. 43; Ilan Kapoor, “Deliberative Democracy and the WTO,” Review of International Political Economy 11, no. 3 (2004), pp. 522–41; Zampetti, “Democratic Legitimacy in the World Trade Organization”; and Patrizia Nanz and Jens Steffek, “Global Governance, Participation and the Public Sphere,” Government and Opposition 39, no. 2 (2004), pp. 314–35.

36 On deliberative democracy versus “checks and balances” liberal constitutional democracy, see Shapiro, The State of Democratic Theory, p. 58; on possible supranational checks, see Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Disaggregated Sovereignty: Towards the Public Accountability of Global Government Networks,” Government and Opposition 39, no. 2 (2004), pp. 159–90.

37 John O. McGinnis and Mark L. Movesian, “The World Trade Constitution,” Harvard Law Review 114, no. 2 (2000), pp. 511–605.

38 Gopal Sreenivasan, “Does the GATS Undermine Democratic Control Over Health?” Journal of Ethics 9, nos. 1–2 (2005), pp. 269–81.

39 Elizabeth Tuerk, Aaron Ostrovsky, and Robert Speed, “GATS and its Impact on Participation in Private Sector Water Services,” in Edith Brown Weiss, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, and Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, eds., Fresh Water and International Economic Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 143–72.

40 Xiao-shan Zhang, “The Impact of China's Accession to the WTO on Chinese Agriculture and Farmers,” in Hung-Gay Fung, Changhong Pei, and Kevin H. Zhang, eds., China and the Challenge of Economic Globalization: The Impact of WTO Membership (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 2006), p. 273–81; see also Dani Rodrik, Has Globalization Gone Too Far? (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 1997), pp. 4–7.

41 See Moellendorf, “The World Trade Organization and Egalitarian Justice,” p. 156; see also Jayashree Watal, “Pharmaceutical Patents, Prices and Welfare Losses: Policy Options for India Under the WTO TRIPs Agreement,” World Economy 23, no. 5 (2000), pp. 733–52.

42 Sean D. Murphy, “Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law: Modification of WTO Rules on Protection of Pharmaceuticals,” American Journal of International Law 97, no. 4 (2003), pp. 981–83; see also Haochen Sun, “Reshaping the TRIPs Agreement Concerning Public Health: Two Critical Issues,” Journal of World Trade 37, no. 1 (2003), pp. 163–97.

43 Jagdish Bhagwati, The Wind of the Hundred Days: How Washington Mismanaged Globalization (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000), pp. 203–04.

44 Jones, Who's Afraid of the WTO?, p. 163.

45 Fatoumata Jawara and Aileen Kwa, Behind the Scenes at the WTO: The Real World of International Trade Negotiations (London: Zed Books, 2004), pp. 99–111; see also Keohane and Nye, “Between Centralization and Fragmentation,” p. 8.

46 Jeffrey J. Schott and Jayashree Watal, “Decision Making in the WTO,” in Jeffrey Schott, ed., The WTO After Seattle (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2000), pp. 283–92; and Richard Blackhurst, “Reforming WTO Decision Making: Lessons from Singapore and Seattle,” in K. G. Deutsch and B. Speyer, eds., The World Trade Organization Millennium Round: Freer Trade in the Twenty-First Century (London: Routledge, 2001), pp. 295–310.

47 See Robert Howse and Kalypso Nicolaidis, “Enhancing WTO Legitimacy: Constitutionalization or Global Subsidiarity?” Governance 16, no. 1 (2003), pp. 88–89; see also Shaffer, “Parliamentary Oversight of WTO Rule-Making,” p. 637; on the domestic opposition, see Daniel Esty, “The World Trade Organization's Legitimacy Crisis,” World Trade Review 1, no. 1 (2002), p. 15.

48 Robert Howse, “How to Begin to Think About the ‘Democratic Deficit’ at the WTO,” in Stefan Griller, ed., International Economic Governance and Non-Economic Concerns: New Challenges for the International Legal Order (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2003), pp. 79–101; see also Aubry Smith, “Executive-Branch Rulemaking and Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization: A Proposal to Increase Public Participation,” Michigan Law Review 94, no. 5 (1996), pp. 1267–93.

49 David E. Skaggs, “How Can Parliamentary Participation in WTO Rule-Making and Democratic Control Be Made More Effective in the WTO?” Journal of International Economic Law 7, no. 3 (2004), p. 656.

50 Pascal Lamy, “Opening Address, Twelfth Session of the Steering Committee.”

51 Chutikul, “Options for a Parliamentary Dimension of the WTO,” p. 8.

52 Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), chap. 3.

53 Esty, “The World Trade Organization's Legitimacy Crisis”; Maura Blue Jeffords, “Turning the Protester Into a Partner for Development: The Need for Effective Consultation Between the WTO and NGOs,” Brooklyn Journal of International Law 28, no. 3 (2002), pp. 937–88; and Nanz and Steffek, “Global Governance, Participation and the Public Sphere.”

54 Stein, “International Integration and Democracy,” pp. 521–25.

55 Christophe Crombez, “The Co-Decision Procedure in the European Union,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 22 (February 1997), pp. 97–119; see also Sophie Boyron, “Maastricht and the Codecision Procedure: A Success Story,” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 45 (April 1996), pp. 293–318.

56 See Alec Stone Sweet and James A. Caporaso, “From Free Trade to Supranational Polity: The European Court and Integration,” in Wayne Sandholtz and Alec Stone Sweet, eds., European Integration and Supranational Governance (New York, Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 92–134.

* I would like to thank for their helpful comments Andrew Sabl, Christina Beltran, Loren King, Jamie Mayerfeld, Thom Brooks, Christian Barry, Matt Peterson, Zornitsa Stoyanova-Yerburgh, and the anonymous reviewers for this journal. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2005 meeting of the American Political Science Association.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ethics & International Affairs
  • ISSN: 0892-6794
  • EISSN: 1747-7093
  • URL: /core/journals/ethics-and-international-affairs
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 2 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 22 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.