Order and Justice in International Relations

By Rosemary Foot; John Gaddis et al. | Go to book overview
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4 Order and Justice in the International Trade System

John Toye

The reconciliation of order and progress, including social justice, is a nineteenth century agenda. Its intellectual parents were the Saint-Simonians, Auguste Comte and the Positivists, and the scientific socialists. The aftermath of the French Revolution convinced them that, while progress was desirable and reaction was impossible, the pursuit of social justice was politically and socially disruptive of order. Therefore, people with special knowledge of society should be empowered to direct what should be done for the good of all. 1 However much today, after the end of the Cold War, democracy and its triumph are trumpeted, this older ideal of technocracy—that power should be exercised by experts, who know how to reconcile justice with order—is still alive and well in political affairs. The spread of democracy has been accompanied by a growing interest in 'agencies of restraint', devices by which certain aspects of economic policy can be removed from the regular political arena and by which democratic governments try to commit themselves to refrain from acting on matters of economic importance and leave decisions to supposedly impartial experts. 2

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