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.
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. 1 I accept from the outset that there has been a massive