Democracy beyond Borders: Justice and Representation in Global Institutions

Democracy beyond Borders: Justice and Representation in Global Institutions

Democracy beyond Borders: Justice and Representation in Global Institutions

Democracy beyond Borders: Justice and Representation in Global Institutions


Global institutions exercise unprecedented power, yet they are often unaccountable to the people they claim to serve. From the hallowed halls of the United Nations to the closed boardrooms of multinational corporations, decisions are made that impact on all our lives, but are not necessarilygoverned by democratic principles. How can we ensure that global leaders act responsively and effectively in the interests of global citizens? How can global institutions be transformed to create security and development for all? In this lucid and provocative book, Andrew Kuper provides compellingand practical answers. Democracy Beyond Borders begins with a reassessment of the basic philosophical foundations of global order. In a critical dialogue with John Rawls and Jurgen Habermas, the world's most influential political philosophers, Kuper exposes the flawed assumption that nation-states should be the onlyfundamental political units. He develops instead a theory of global justice that also harnesses the capabilities of non-state actors - such as corporations, non-governmental organizations, and civil society networks. The book shows how these powerful actors can be brought into "multi-levelgovernance" with states as key partners for change. Yet in the absence of global elections, how can these actors be made accountable for their policies and actions? Kuper presents a startling and original theory of representation to answer this challenge. He articulates a new separation of powers, where different global actors check and balance oneanother in a complex harmony. This radical yet feasible vision makes it possible to recommend far-reaching reforms to the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and advocacy agencies such as Transparency International, among others. Impressive in its scope and inventiveness, Democracy Beyond Borders stands at the forefront of a new generation of political thought, for which globalization is the challenge and deepening democracy the solution.


To live is to build a ship and a harbor

at the same time. And to complete the harbor

long after the ship was drowned.

Yehuda Amichai

1 Context

Liberalism and modern democracy are now the most widely accepted forms of official justification for political rule. Both doctrines were developed largely in and for nation-states. Yet, in the face of what is bluntly called globalisation, it is arguable that an international political system based on states will be unable to meet some of the most daunting political challenges that confront our world. Is it possible to develop an institutional framework that is not based primarily on states, one that would enable justifiable and effective rule? In particular, can the principles and practices of liberal justice and representative democracy be extended, to positive effect, beyond the state contexts for which they were devised? I argue in this book that we should end our dubious romance with the nation-state and that we can do so in favour of a more suitable prospect: not a world state, nor a system of superstates, but a multiform global system that I shall call Responsive Democracy.

The book does not—I should stress—seek to explain at length the complex processes and phenomena that fall under the rubric of globalisation. I accept from the outset that there has been a massive

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.