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Transformative pathways to world government: a historical institutionalist critique
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Number of Authors: 1
2015 (English)In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 28, no 4, 657-679 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Proposals for world government (WG) have come from a variety of sources including international relations (IR) scholars, economists, normative political theorists and global justice academics. In general, these visions are couched as ideal models to be approximated as closely as possible. The key argument of the article is that, in evaluating the democratic potential of these proposals, we should focus upon the process of designing and building a WG. This is because there is an ineluctable gap between ideal conceptualization and non-ideal realization that emerges through institutionalization. I employ a historical institutionalist lens to describe and problematize potential institutional shifts along a WG pathway. I argue that institutionalizing these ideal visions in our current, non-ideal context would actually exacerbate the democratic deficit. Specifically, building a WG would likely entrench existing inequalities, expand the authority of unaccountable bureaucrats and limit institutional improvements over time. These three points respectively undercut three core values of democratization: equal participation, accountability and institutional revisability. Given this argument, I conclude that an incremental approachwhich focuses on advancing values rather than moving towards an ideal modelrepresents a more productive pathway for global democratization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 28, no 4, 657-679 p.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125875DOI: 10.1080/09557571.2013.869670ISI: 000366351300010OAI: diva2:897651
Available from: 2016-01-26 Created: 2016-01-19 Last updated: 2016-01-26Bibliographically approved

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