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The democratic potential of systemic pluralism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2014

JONATHAN W KUYPER*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Södra Huset, Universeitwagen 10 F, Plan 5, Stockholm, Sweden 106 91

Abstract

This article analyses how, and under what conditions, a systemically-pluralist structure of international law provides a springboard for global democratization. I argue that contestation and deliberation – core values of democracy – can and do arise within systemic pluralism. Specifically, I contend that institutional heterarchy between legal orders and forum shopping by different actors provide a means to engender these democratic values. I maintain that democratization can be sought on both horizontal and vertical planes: the former being the sphere of multilateral negotiations; the latter being governance which links individuals directly to sites of public power. In making this argument, I analyse recent developments within global intellectual property law, establishing and treating the multiple jurisdictions in this issue-space as an instantiation of systemic pluralism. This article thus provides a normative strategy for ongoing democratization of international law. Systemic pluralism must still prove its merits in terms of stability, the rule of law, and other values. However, I provide a method to advance transnational democracy that takes seriously empirical realities and competing normative visions.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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References

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30 Over time, the US has become more constitutionalized and hierarchical, even though ultimate authority is left ambiguous.

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68 WTO-WIPO cooperation agreement, <http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/wtowip_e.htm>, accessed 15 October 2013.

69 WHO, WIPO, WTO Trilateral Cooperation on Public Health, Intellectual Property, and Trade, <http://www.wipo.int/globalchallenges/en/health/trilateral_cooperation.html>, accessed 10 October 2013. On domestic legal acceptance of that policy, see ‘Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade’, <http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/freepublications/en/global_challenges/628/wipo_pub_628.pdf>, accessed 10 October 2013, 229.

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90 Of the now 22 signatories, only Japan has ratified ACTA. This occurred in 2011. In a notable shift, the EU Parliament rejected ACTA in 2012.

91 2004 was the same year that Brazil and other developing countries made public the pursuit of a Development Agenda in the WIPO.

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106 Gutmann and Thompson, Democracy and Disagreement (n 61).

107 Dür and Mateo González, ‘Public Opinion and Interest Group Influence’ (n 97) 20.

108 Indeed it was an implicit argument that high IPR standards would generate these benefits.

109 Yu, ‘ACTA and Its Complex Politics’ (n 92) 7. Moreover, because the DSB has ruled several times in favour of weaker states, developing states are increasingly unable to wield the ‘stick’ of trade sanctions.

110 Habermas, The Postnational Constellation (n 62).

111 O Solon, ‘Netherlands Rejects ACTA, and Forbids any Similar Legislation’ (2012) <http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-05/30/dutch-acta-rejection>, accessed 6 March 2014.

112 Dür and Mateo González, ‘Public Opinion and Interest Group Influence’ (n 97) 20.

113 M Ermert, ‘Unprecedented Vote: EU Parliament Trade Committee Rejects ACTA’ (2012) <http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/06/21/unprecedented-vote-eu-parliament-trade-committee-rejects-acta/>, accessed 18 October 2013.

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116 IP-Watch, ‘ACTA Debated at WTO; Petitions and Letters Fly in Brussels’ (2012) <http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/02/29/acta-debated-at-wto-petitions-and-letters-fly-in-brussels/>, accessed 7 March 2012.

117 IP-Watch, ‘ACTA Debated at WTO; Petitions and Letters Fly in Brussels’ (2012) <http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/02/29/acta-debated-at-wto-petitions-and-letters-fly-in-brussels/>, accessed 7 March 2012.

118 P Lamy, ‘WTO Responds to Concerns of the European Parliament on ACTA’ (2010) <http://keionline.org/node/838>, accessed 8 March 2014.

119 F Gurry, ‘Historic Treaty Adopted, Boosts Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons Worldwide’ (2013) <http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2013/article_0017.html>, accessed 29 February 2014.

120 Krisch, Beyond Constitutionalism (n 1) 280.

121 This case, happening largely within South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, would be particularly useful to test normative theories away from the traditional Western locations.

122 See, for instance, Stevenson, H and Dryzek, JS, ‘The Discursive Democratisation of Global Climate Governance’ (2012) 21 Environmental Politics 189210.

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123 Hoffman, MJ, Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009).

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124 A normative assessment of either the horizontal or vertical level on its own may be plausible but, in my view, is insufficient for remedying the democratic deficit.

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