Democracy Internationalisation

It is undeniable that the state of world affairs has dramatically evolved since the end of the Second World War. More specifically, the surge of development in IT has been the chief reason that our world has become less a mosaic of nation-states and more a melting pot of societies, cultures, and associations whereby nation-states are inevitably bound to trans-national phenomena. As Cox notes, "globalization [generates] a more complex multi-level world political system, which implicitly challenges the old Westphalian assumption that 'a state is a state is a state'" (Cox, in Pierson, p.181). 

This work shall support this notion of globalization by highlighting two problems from Pierson, namely decreased anarchy in the global political arena, and the influence of the global economy on nation-states. These issues will be defined and then discussed in relation to Lindens conceptions of Realist democracy and Communitarian democracy respectively. 

Decreased anarchy refers to the marginalization of the autonomy of nation-states in the international order. The growing interdependence between nations across the globe has resulted in a redirection of respective national interests towards the sphere of global rather than domestic (Pierson 174). What this means for realist democracy is a skewed orientation of political candidates; they become no longer dedicated to domestic issues but those of an international nature instead.

The problem with this lies in the fact that the success of the Realist democratic concept (in Lindens view) is dependent upon the competition of political leaders to win approval (via votes) from the citizens. There is a problem if politicians win a seat in office with a platform claiming to be 'for the people,' and then redirect their interests after election to the international sphere. The welfare of the citizens is left on the sidelines in place of external issues, and the fruits of Realist democracy are not enjoyed by the people who voted for it, thus the legitimacy of the democratic process diminishes.

This is especially a danger in realist democracy since representation by political actors replaces active participation by the citizens; "[Realist democracy] thus does not entail, cannot entail, governance by the people in a real sense. It can only entail the people having the possibility to accept or reject pretenders, i.e. elect those that govern" (Lindensj 3). These elected representatives, are in turn subjected to a political framework where, "…international institutions, conventions and regimes moderate the extent to which inter-state relations can be conceived as genuinely and 'actively' anarchic" (Pierson 175). Thus, the validity of Realist democracy is compromised seeing as though anarchy is its cornerstone.

Similarly, Communitarian democracy is also restricted by the over-arching nature of the international order. Lindenss conception of Communitarian democracy requires nations to be able to pursue interests in a collective manner, with its citizens as an intrinsic part of the democracy (Lindens11). There is a great emphasis placed on compromise – a sort of give and take to realize the maximum of individual ideals in a collective manner. This sort of idyllic outlook on forming a democratic community would be difficult to practice even in the small, cohesive communities of Ancient Greece.

The decreased anarchy of the international order today magnifies the difficulty of assimilating different people, groups, and ideas under a collective banner. To imagine what Lindens refers to as a 'homelike community' seems like a far stretch seeing that an increasingly interdependent world melds such a sheer mass of different people, outlooks, and traditions. The scale of interdependency in today's world most certainly underpins the 'homelike' values necessary for effective Communitarian democracy especially where individuals' interests are drawn outside the domestic sphere.

Perhaps the most influential factor working against the Westphalian concept of global politics is the nature of modern global markets. Today, domestic economies cannot escape the forces of the international economy (Pierson 171). As Cox notes, "…economic globalization has placed constraints upon the autonomy of states and, increasingly, states must become the instruments for adjusting national economic activities to the exigencies of the global economy" (Cox, in Pierson 179). This excerpt makes a direct reference to a lessening of state autonomy due to global economies.

For this reason, it is clear that Realist democracy is challenged by the world's economy and market forces that compromise autonomy. The economic implications of globalization mirror those associated with decreased anarchy; for example, if economic reforms are made to comply with the international system, this results in states focusing on international economic policies over domestic ones. The working class will most certainly lose out to those who hold political positions – the elites, who will mold economic reforms around the international order and, more often than not, their own interests.