MOBILITY AND THE INTERNET
PROBLEMS OF GLOBAL DEMOCRATIZATION
By Fred W. Riggs
Some thoughts for a workshop on GLOBAL DEMOCRACY
International Studies Association Conference, Chicago, 20 February 2001
This paper contains many links to Web sites referred to in the text -- it is therefore worth reading on the screen.
Demographic mobility boosted by the INTERNET is rapidly re-shaping the prospects and problems of global democratization. Demographic mobility is ancient, but under the impact of contemporary globalization, it has become more extensive and intensive than ever before. The communications revolution wrought by the WWW has boosted human mobility and given it new meanings. These meanings are not yet well reflected in the constitutional design of representative government, i.e. of democracy. They have implications both for the internal politics of existing states and the design of trans-national organizations and practices. Consequently demographic mobility needs to be factored into our thinking about Global Democracy.
1. ESCALATING MOBILITY AND SYNARCHY
2. UNREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES
3. THREE MODELS FOR DEMOCRACY IN STATES
5. INTERNATIONAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
1. ESCALATING MOBILITY AND SYNARCHY.
The political implications of global demographic mobility can be seen in the phenomenon of glocalization, a process that involves the multi-dimensional flow of people, information and goods from the local to the global, and from the global to the local. This process generates new tensions and social forces that promote, simultaneously, both greater order and disorder. Perhaps we could speak of it as the (dis)order of synarchy. I use this neologism to refer to the paradoxical juxtaposition of synthesis and anarchy. They provoke political responses that tilt between authoritarianism and endemic violence on the one side, and democratic accommodations and justice on the other. The threat of growing violence provokes both despotic and democratic movements. It generates despair and resistance as well as networking, communitarianism, and creativity. Migrations and ethnicity generate interactive or dialectical processes. I often think of them as prismatic. They are inherently self-contradictory: traditional life styles persist and resist newer practices and forms rooted in modernity, including industrial technology, secularism, and democratic impulses. Accelerating human mobility reflects and reinforces the contemporary explosion of knowledge and instantaneous global communications.
A comprehensive look at how this rapidly changing situation is affecting minorities in many countries can be found on UNESCO's MOST (Management of Social Transformations) program. This site is augmented by an extensive set of links to related sites at: projects including the publication of the Journal on Multicultural Societies that offers many relevant studies. The latest issue of UNESCO's International Social Science Journal focuses on International Migration, providing additional insights about this growing phenomenon -- see: abstracts I believe world wars on the scale of those experienced during the 20th century will not recur, but endemic violence will become pervasive. It will take the form of ethnic protest movements, nationalist uprisings, criminal violence and civil wars. The U. S. National Defense Council Foundation has listed 68 conflict zones in its report for 2000 see: In many of them ethnic conflicts are mentioned as a major factor.
As people increasingly move about, within and between countries, often as transients continuously in transit, human mobility is now pandemic. Immigration and emigration are an important story but discourse on migration presupposes the relatively permanent or stable settlement of migrants. An important part of the story of contemporary mobility involves people who are often on the move, global migrants whose occupations, curiosity, or necessities compel them to keep moving. People in diaspora not only associate with neighbors in the hostlands where they are living but they maintain contacts in the homelands from which they have come.
Much of the scholarly work on migration has focused on the torrents of refugees, persons involuntarily uprooted from their homes and forced into exile. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has a vast program to monitor and assist these unfortunate victims of oppression. Their plight has provoked widespread attention and sympathy. However, contemporary migration is a much larger phenomenon. Of course, people have migrated since the dawn of human existence, but the scale and consequences of contemporary migrations are vaster and more momentous than ever before. In addition to refugees, there are vast numbers of voluntary migrants, not just poor people seeking more opportunities in life, but also privileged people professionals and entrepreneurs, managers and experts, students and teachers, artists and writers, tourists and adventurers. All of them find new opportunities away from home but they are also enabled by new technologies, especially the Internet, to stay in touch and maintain bonds of solidarity with people who share their interests, family connections or ethnic identities.
The contradictory effects of contemporary human mobility are both local and global. Locally, communities and states have become more diverse as migrants enter their domains, whether as visitors or settlers, as friends or enemies, as workers, managers, or tourists. Globally, proliferating networks link travelers in a host of communities that, increasingly, extend throughout the planet. These networks take such diverse forms as multi-national corporations, international associations (both governmental and non-governmental), universalistic religious and philosophical movements, and increasingly globalized nations (typically with a local heartland and a diasporic periphery).
The World Wide Web
Many Web Sites reflect and celebrate the outcome of this process some of them are listed on my own Home Page. Because the Internet is so much involved in these migrations, both as cause and effect, this paper focuses on Web Sites that record and encourage both mobility and democratization as linked phenomena. Among those I have listed, one that is particularly relevant here is the comprehensive alphabetical set of sites prepared by the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER): it can be found at: link A classified list by major categories can also be searched at: link .
Information and analysis of the untoward consequences of large-scale immigration, efforts to restrict it, and public policy dilemmas that reflect the powerlessness of migrant minorities can be found in World on the Move, the newsletter of the Section on International Migration of the American Sociological Association: link Other issues of this informative newsletter can be found through link See also the extended bibliography on Ethnic Economies sponsored by this group at: link . These works focus on the problems and role of ethnic minorities but largely ignore their political status I believe their lack of representation in legislative and governmental decision-making processes is a major explanatory factor.
Individuals who feel powerless in isolation can nevertheless band together to seek redress at the mass level, this leads to ethnonational and liberation movements, while at the elite level, it spurs military groups to seize power. Criminals and gangsters can easily take advantage of widespread chaos to indulge their greed and to aggravate the contradictions reflected in synarchic violence. Thus despotism based on coercion competes with efforts to create or restore order. Can democratic governance at both state and trans-state levels enable concerned people to deal peacefully and effectively with these problems? I believe the best hopes for humanity rest on the ability of human beings to evolve democratic processes based on popular representation, the rule of law and personal freedom..
As for the exponents of democracy, a better understanding of human mobility as it accelerates
around our planet will help them learn how to be more effective at all levels local, national, regional, and global. Democratization around the world has already made giant strides. Zones of order and cooperation overlay large areas of chaos and conflict. A major reconceptualization of the meaning of democracy will help us cope more effectively with the problems attributable to synarchy at both the global and local levels. Such a reconceptualization involves enabling groups as well as of individuals to be represented politically. For that to become possible, however, we need to restructure elected assemblies more specifically, I think we should re-design bi-cameral institutions: they should become more complementary, representing individual citizens in one chamber and groups in the other. Moreover, the myth of national states needs to be rejected in favor of conceptions that legitimize ethnonational diversity in representative political processes.
The rest of this paper focuses on this subject. What are the political implications of human mobility for the design of democratic institutions? This question has received far less attention than it deserves. It raises some fundamental issues relating to constitutional structure. We can no longer assume that our traditional understandings about the democratic process are adequate. Our assumptions about the electoral and the institutional basis for representative government are especially problematical. Questions about them apply not only to the governance of sovereign states, but also to the design of international organizations. These issues will be discussed in the rest of this paper in the following sections:
#2 deals with the representation of dispersed communities in democratic governance;
#3 with our understandings about the constitutional design of democratic states;
#4 with inter-governmental organization; and
#5 with international non-governmental associations.
2. UNREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES
Structurally, a major concern for democratic design involves the representation of mobile and dispersed communities. Such communities grow in diversity: some are formed by diffusion (explosion) as global associations, diasporas, or even nations whose members live in many countries but stay in touch by cell phone and internet; others are formed by in-migration (implosion) as diverse localities (cities, suburbs, neighborhoods) in which strangers live side-by-side; and individuals are buffeted psychologically (plosion) retreating to the security of old values or daring to explore new frontiers. Traditional theories of political representation (republics) or democracy (popular sovereignty) rested on the persistence of stable residential communities, neighbors who knew and trusted each other in the kith and kin mode. Members of such communities could afford to trust their representatives in legislative assemblies to speak for them and make consensual decisions that would fairly reflect their concerns and interests. In fact, traditional theory typically excluded from the representative process persons who were not trusted by the dominant majority women, children, criminals, slaves and indentured servants, indigenous people, and racial minorities, and mobile people, travelers.
In the new era of accelerated mobility, these premises are no longer acceptable. We need to counteract unrepresentation in several directions:
Explosively: diasporization means that interested members of a community live far away they need absentee ballots to register their interests and concerns at home;
Implosively: diversity means that strangers in our midst have contradictory expectations and needs that fail to reach the attention or respect of legislators elected by dominant majorities;
Plosively: ambivalence or confusion means that voters are mentally disoriented they can scarcely formulate clearly a balanced agenda of their own interests to say nothing of empathizing with people who are quite different from themselves.
Those who feel they have no voice in public policy making become alienated or apathetic. They find themselves dangling precariously between two models of governance rooted in the past and the future:
In the past, in traditional regimes, legitimacy was widely viewed as the fruit of a top-down process whereby subjects accepted the authority of their masters. Sovereigns has the right to rule because of a sacred mandate; inequality was both normal and proper. Marginalized subjects accepted their fate and even relished the privileges that their caste-like social status assured them. This included the inheritance of occupations and arranged marriages. They did not claim nor could they even imagine that sovereign authority was vested in all the people as individual citizens. They attributed their woes to fate or karma, not to oppression by unjust masters.
In the future, if present trends continue and a globalized world enables modern democracies to triumph throughout the world, a radically different socio-political order will prevail. In a truly modern regime, political legitimacy will flow from the bottom and citizens, as sovereigns, will elect representatives willing and able to frame policies that reflecting the general will and protect minorities. Underlying this type of democratic regime is a class (rather than caste) based social order in which equalitarianism is the norm, differences in power and wealth are justified on the basis of personal achievements and individuals are free to embrace occupations that interest them and marry anyone they choose. Although socio-economic inequalities will prevail, they will be accepted because the political rights of individuals are vested in their personal sovereignty and manifest in their equality before the law and in voting booths.
At present, however, we are in world undergoing traumatic transformations: the escalating mobility of people moving around the planet intensifies this trauma. At the ideological and moral level, rival views rooted in the past and future compete with each other; individuals often embrace ideas that seem to legitimize and further their own self-interests. This mobility as global nomads makes them plosively ambivalent, explosively dispersed around the world, and implosively exposed to hostility and injustice in ethnically diverse locations. The resulting anomie, fear and anger undermines the legitimacy of governance at least, this is true in many societies where traditional caste-based socio-economic systems are crumbling under the impact of modern class-oriented norms and new political forces. In today's world, both the past and future modes of existence overlap and compete: mobile individuals find themselves voiceless or marginalized and also, sometimes, ruthlessly empowered by impersonal forces they cannot control of understand. Inequalities of wealth, power and information enable some to dominate others without authority, while many feel oppressed, baffled and helpless..
in the wake of globalization, bottom-up political legitimation is now
widely accepted by dominant regimes as the norm, not only in Western
countries where democratic governance has become well established, but
also throughout the world where the secular norms of modernity have
spread. However, widespread
political frustration, weak authoritarianism and anomic violence,
contradict prevailing ideals and produce pervasive alienation and
synarchy. These prismatic
contradictions rest not only on the inherent clash between the old and the
new ideologies, but also on the
inadequacy of the theories of democratic design that presuppose not only a
class-based society, but also ethnic homogeneity in nation-states,
a sedentary life style that makes it reasonable for the residents of
electoral districts to elect their political representatives, and
legitimizes a legislative assembly designed to speak for individuals, not
groups. The term, nation-state, is italicized here to call
attention to the fact that independent states rarely if ever coincide with
a nation -- if we used national-state to refer explicitly to such a
match between a nation and a state, we would see that there are no real
national-states in the world today -- although no doubt some, like
Iceland, come closer to that ideal type than others which, like Nigeria or
Indonesia, are extreme examples of a multi-national state.
generated by globalization and accelerated human mobility now make these
premises of democratic theory anachronistic. We need to revise them if we are to solve the problems
generated by a world that cannot be neatly partitioned into autonomous
nation-states, each determined to safeguard its borders against
and to advance the welfare of its resident citizens. In fact, all states have become
ethnically amorphous collectivities whose porous boundaries are
continuously open, not only to migrants but also to the flow of goods,
information, money and capital, to say nothing of cultural influences and
competing philosophical principles.
What model of
democratic governance is adequate for use in this
context? 3. THREE
MODELS FOR DEMOCRACY IN STATES Broadly
speaking, we can identify three different models for the intra-state
organization of democratic governance: an ancient or classical model, the
prevalent modern idea, and an emergent future design. To be more succinct and precise, I
shall use a neologism for each: I will refer to the classical model as
proto-democracy, the modern version as ortho-democracy, and
the embryonic democracy of the future as meta-democracy. In this section let me talk about each
in turn, and then take up their relevance for solving problems posed by
the accelerated pace of human mobility.
Classical thought focused on the ancient Athenian model of
self-government by citizens who were able to gather together in a popular
assembly to make policy decisions. This remains the root meaning of
democracy even though, in today's
world, the concept is irrelevant except in the context of small groups.
Ortho-Democracy. Modern theorists, in the context of
large states where political participation in public policy making could
only be achieved in representative
assemblies, developed a new version of democracy that
we might think of as orthodox
i.e. ortho-democracy. The
framers of the American Constitution, like Aristotle, distrusted democracy
they sought to establish was a republic based on decisions made by the
responsible representatives of tax-paying male citizens. Gradually, however, democracy
came to be used to refer to representative governance. It
presupposed the willingness of responsible voters, as individual citizens,
to delegate the authority to act for them in decision-making
assemblies. The voters were
understood to be settled residents in districts whose shared sense of
identity and political values permitted them to trust their
representatives even when they may not have voted for them. Indeed, many people were barred from
the suffrage as unqualified persons, including indigenous people, slaves,
and aliens as well as children, criminals and the insane. Philippe Schmitter, in the essay
quoted above, writes: I have elsewhere defined democracy in
its most generic sense as the following: A regime in which rulers are held
accountable for their actions in the public quorum by citizens acting
indirectly through the competition and cooperation of representatives. So,
modern democracy then is representative democracy, indirect, and it has
these three components: Citizens, rulers, accountable rulers,
representatives, i.e. politicians. In this
definition Schmitter accepts the modern definition of democracy as rule by
representatives of individual citizens and their appointees. This is the orthodox understanding of
democracy in every-day usage and when we speak of democratization, we
normally have in mind the extension of this form of representative
government based on electoral choices made by settled citizens. In the contemporary world, however,
where global migrations have unsettled the populations of virtually all
states, this concept is no longer adequate we
need a new formulation which might be called
The prefix, meta-, among several senses, can mean higher or
developed. As I visualize it,
meta-democracy is as different from ortho-democracy as
ortho-democracy is from proto-democracy.
It reflects the necessities of a global order in which all humans
are protected from savagery and enabled to protect their human rights
through political institutions. It
transcends the premise of nation-states and assumes, instead, a
system in which states become provinces whose sovereign authority hinges
on norms created through an overarching world system. Indeed, sovereignty
can no longer be understood as an overriding principle that gives states
license not only to govern themselves but to escape external
sovereignty needs to be understood in terms familiar to the founders of
the American Constitution as something enjoyed by individual persons: they
proclaimed the right, in the opening line of the Declaration of
Independence, ... of a People
to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with
another. For the full text go
radical differences in thinking, the Founders of the American Constitution
had the same opinion as expressed in the opening lines of their text which
reads: We the People of the United States... do ordain and establish
this Constitution for the United States of
The full text
may conveniently be found at: link
involves an expansion of this core concept. People can exercise their sovereignty at two levels: first
as individual citizens voting for representatives, district by district;
and second as members of organized groups, each to be represented as a
group in a legislative assembly. However, because of the inherent
differences between individual and group representation, two different
chambers are needed in order for these two principles to be
actualized. Put differently,
meta-democracy rests on two fundamental principles: Groups as well as individuals need political
representation; and Representative institutions need to be
multi-cameral. The underlying
reality is that human mobility has changed the relative significance of
individual and group representation in any democracy. The American Constitution was
originally designed to represent groups (each state chose two members of
the Senate) in parallel with the representation of individual citizens
(voting districts elect members of the House of Representatives). Although this design has been blurred
by subsequent political evolution in the U.S., it continues to function
insofar as the states, regardless of size, still have just two Senators
apiece. Moreover, as recent events
have dramatized, the Electoral College which, ultimately, selects the U.S.
president, is also based on the representation of states rather than
individual citizens. If that were
not so, Al Gore rather than George W. Bush would now be the American
president. For authoritative
information about design of the Electoral College go to: link
principles can be found in some other state constitutions. Consider, for example, the Swiss
Constitution, a polity that is often ignored because of its exceptional
features. To see how it is
organized, take a look at the Swiss Constitution: link
It is a confederation of cantons, each
of which is directly represented in the Council of States (Senate), and
all Swiss citizens vote for members of the National Council (House of
Representatives). The two bodies
meet together as the National Parliament to elect a 7-member Federal
Government and choose its rotating one-year
chairperson. A discussion of the tasks and organs of this structure can
be found at: link
The realities generated by globalization and accelerated human mobility now make these premises of democratic theory anachronistic. We need to revise them if we are to solve the problems generated by a world that cannot be neatly partitioned into autonomous nation-states, each determined to safeguard its borders against intruders and to advance the welfare of its resident citizens. In fact, all states have become ethnically amorphous collectivities whose porous boundaries are continuously open, not only to migrants but also to the flow of goods, information, money and capital, to say nothing of cultural influences and competing philosophical principles. What model of democratic governance is adequate for use in this context?
3. THREE MODELS FOR DEMOCRACY IN STATES
Broadly speaking, we can identify three different models for the intra-state organization of democratic governance: an ancient or classical model, the prevalent modern idea, and an emergent future design. To be more succinct and precise, I shall use a neologism for each: I will refer to the classical model as proto-democracy, the modern version as ortho-democracy, and the embryonic democracy of the future as meta-democracy. In this section let me talk about each in turn, and then take up their relevance for solving problems posed by the accelerated pace of human mobility.
Proto-Democracy. Classical thought focused on the ancient Athenian model of self-government by citizens who were able to gather together in a popular assembly to make policy decisions. This remains the root meaning of democracy even though, in today's world, the concept is irrelevant except in the context of small groups. 1
Ortho-Democracy. Modern theorists, in the context of large states where political participation in public policy making could only be achieved in representative assemblies, developed a new version of democracy that we might think of as orthodox i.e. ortho-democracy. The framers of the American Constitution, like Aristotle, distrusted democracy what they sought to establish was a republic based on decisions made by the responsible representatives of tax-paying male citizens. Gradually, however, democracy came to be used to refer to representative governance. It presupposed the willingness of responsible voters, as individual citizens, to delegate the authority to act for them in decision-making assemblies. The voters were understood to be settled residents in districts whose shared sense of identity and political values permitted them to trust their representatives even when they may not have voted for them. Indeed, many people were barred from the suffrage as unqualified persons, including indigenous people, slaves, and aliens as well as children, criminals and the insane. Philippe Schmitter, in the essay quoted above, writes:
I have elsewhere defined democracy in its most generic sense as the following: A regime in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public quorum by citizens acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of representatives. So, modern democracy then is representative democracy, indirect, and it has these three components: Citizens, rulers, accountable rulers, representatives, i.e. politicians.
In this definition Schmitter accepts the modern definition of democracy as rule by representatives of individual citizens and their appointees. This is the orthodox understanding of democracy in every-day usage and when we speak of democratization, we normally have in mind the extension of this form of representative government based on electoral choices made by settled citizens. In the contemporary world, however, where global migrations have unsettled the populations of virtually all states, this concept is no longer adequate we need a new formulation which might be called meta-democracy.
Meta-Democracy. The prefix, meta-, among several senses, can mean higher or more developed. As I visualize it, meta-democracy is as different from ortho-democracy as ortho-democracy is from proto-democracy. It reflects the necessities of a global order in which all humans are protected from savagery and enabled to protect their human rights through political institutions. It transcends the premise of nation-states and assumes, instead, a world system in which states become provinces whose sovereign authority hinges on norms created through an overarching world system. Indeed, sovereignty can no longer be understood as an overriding principle that gives states license not only to govern themselves but to escape external interventions. Instead, sovereignty needs to be understood in terms familiar to the founders of the American Constitution as something enjoyed by individual persons: they proclaimed the right, in the opening line of the Declaration of Independence, ... of a People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another. For the full text go to: link
Despite some radical differences in thinking, the Founders of the American Constitution had the same opinion as expressed in the opening lines of their text which reads: We the People of the United States... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. The full text may conveniently be found at: link
Meta-democracy involves an expansion of this core concept. People can exercise their sovereignty at two levels: first as individual citizens voting for representatives, district by district; and second as members of organized groups, each to be represented as a group in a legislative assembly. However, because of the inherent differences between individual and group representation, two different chambers are needed in order for these two principles to be actualized. Put differently, meta-democracy rests on two fundamental principles:
Groups as well as individuals need political representation;
Representative institutions need to be multi-cameral.
The underlying reality is that human mobility has changed the relative significance of individual and group representation in any democracy. The American Constitution was originally designed to represent groups (each state chose two members of the Senate) in parallel with the representation of individual citizens (voting districts elect members of the House of Representatives). Although this design has been blurred by subsequent political evolution in the U.S., it continues to function insofar as the states, regardless of size, still have just two Senators apiece. Moreover, as recent events have dramatized, the Electoral College which, ultimately, selects the U.S. president, is also based on the representation of states rather than individual citizens. If that were not so, Al Gore rather than George W. Bush would now be the American president. For authoritative information about design of the Electoral College go to: link
Similar principles can be found in some other state constitutions. Consider, for example, the Swiss Constitution, a polity that is often ignored because of its exceptional features. To see how it is organized, take a look at the Swiss Constitution: link It is a confederation of cantons, each of which is directly represented in the Council of States (Senate), and all Swiss citizens vote for members of the National Council (House of Representatives). The two bodies meet together as the National Parliament to elect a 7-member Federal Government and choose its rotating one-year chairperson. A discussion of the tasks and organs of this structure can be found at: link
Another relevant example can be found in India where the Constitution establishes a Parliament with two chambers: The Council of State and the House of the People. The former is composed of representatives elected by the legislative assemblies of the States and Union Territories of India; and the House of the People is elected by all citizens on the basis of proportional representation. For details see: link
In these examples the groups to be represented are organized geographically, as states. However, the same principle could be used to represent groups whose members are widely dispersed, provided they can organize themselves in order to choose their representatives in a larger union. No doubt this would have been difficult in the past, but today modern communications, especially the Internet, now enables the members of dispersed communities to keep in touch with each other on a day-to-day basis.
For a micro-scale example, take a look at Rotuma, a non-Polynesian island in Fiji. Out of a total population of perhaps 10,000, only about 2,500 live in Rotuma, as many as 1000 may live abroad, and the rest live in Fiji outside of Rotuma. Nevertheless, they are able to keep in touch with each other, to debate the pros and cons of independence, and discuss community problems regardless of where they live because they have a Web Site of their own take a look at: link This report discusses population size and distribution, but anyone who clicks on link will find a delightful home page with a place for all Rotumans, regardless of where they live, to keep in touch with each other and discuss their community concerns, and cultivate their indigenous culture. .
In fact, a large number of ethnic and national communities already have their own Web Pages and are able to organize themselves, not only within a state but globally. For some examples, including lists, go to: Glocalization . Nevertheless, even in the country where they may have the largest number of members, they may not have enough members in an electoral district to assure their representation in parliament. The only way to make certain that such dispersed communities can gain political representation and have some assurance that their legitimate concerns will be taken into account by public policy makers is to enable them to be represented, as a group, in the legislative process.
One of the most difficult policy issues to resolve in many countries involves language. The problem of multi-culturalism, especially in the form of linguistic diversity, has been the subject of considerable analysis. Questions are raised about whether state building and democratic governance are better served by policies that promote a single official language for all citizens, or permit communities to use and maintain their own languages. Decisions on such questions, however, are often made without the participation of representatives from the communities whose languages are most affected.
An extended essay discussing such questions, with particular reference to the experience of Kyrgistan as a post-Soviet republic can be found in Democratic governance in multi-cultural societies: Social conditions for the implementation of international human rights through multi-cultural policies by Matthias Koenig The concluding paragraph of this study reads: an interdisciplinary approach, co-ordinating social science with legal and policy analysis on a conceptual and substantive level, is highly fruitful for analyzing problems of democratic governance in multicultural societies and has great potential for further theoretical development. It is in this direction that policy-relevant research on social integration in societies characterized by cultural, linguistic or religious diversity should be advanced in the framework of UNESCO's MOST Programme.
This approach, although very scholarly, fails to take into account the structural problem of how minority language communities can best be represented in a democracy so that they will, in fact, be able to influence public policy decisions. Without such representation, they remain the objects of policies formulated by others, the dominant communities. No matter how enlightened and altruistic they may appear to be, they will tend to give priority to their own interests as a dominant group, avoiding concessions that might be sought by those who have a personal stake in the use and perpetuation, for example, of their own language. Perhaps the multi-lingual problem -- and this is only one of many -- hinges on the prevalence of a uni-cameral stereotype, the idea that a single representative assembly ought to be able to make appropriate policies for everyone living within the boundaries of a state. Would not the establishment of one or more separate assemblies for specialized functions, such as the representation of dispersed communities, enable their representatives to be heard and to win support for policies responsive to their special needs?
Internal and External Communities
The more basic problem that confronts us, I believe, involves people who admittedly have the right to vote but, for various reasons, belong to communities that systematically remain voiceless in virtually all democracies. We need to recognize two dimensions of this problem: internal and external.
Internally, there are many dispersed ethnic communities whose members identify themselves by language, religion, ancestry, or even racial markers normally we recognize them by the country or place of origin from which they (or their parents) migrated. In any voting district, their numbers are few enough so that established parties disregard their special problems and they cannot expect to gain a voice by organizing their own small political parties. Only through group representation in a second legislative chamber could they ever hope to gain an effective voice in politics.
Externally, most states have citizens living abroad who are also unrepresented. No doubt some of them are emigrants who choose to naturalize themselves as citizens in their hostlands, renouncing any claims to political representation in their homelands. However, many citizens living abroad do retain diasporic linkages and have interests that entitle them to representation in their prior homelands. Many of them retain their homeland citizenship and refuse to become naturalized citizens of their hostlands, even if it is possible for them to do so. Moreover, and circular causation is involved here, the more difficulties they encounter in gaining acceptance and protecting important values in their hostlands, the more inclined they are to retain attachments that link and identify them with their original homelands.
Efforts to address or analyze the internal problems of ethnic minorities typically ignore their external linkages as diasporans. Were these connections to be recognized, I suspect that in some cases at least it would be feasible to ameliorate the problem of representation. Perhaps dual citizenship could be recognized. If that is not feasible, members of ethnic communities could be given a choice of identities (at home or abroad) that would enable them to optimize their opportunities in life at minimal cost to the larger communities among whom they are living.
In some countries, diasporans already have the right to vote as absentees, but logistical problems arise involving their identification, registration, and the timely processing of their ballots. There are also important technical problems. For example, in the U.S. and no doubt in other countries, absentees are viewed as residents of a district and their votes are counted locally even though their interests at this level have become attenuated. Citizens living abroad usually, I suspect, have more important concerns that affect them as expatriates. Yet their interests, as expatriates, are typically ignored. There may be an exception in the French Senate where expatriates are viewed as a separate constituency entitled to their own voice. Information about their work and some bio-data can be found at: list
A more serious problem arises when citizens have no definite residences. This involves homeless people everywhere. Poverty and the lack of identity documents provide understandable though not acceptable grounds for refusing them the right to be represented politically. Traditionally, nomadic peoples have never enjoyed the rights of democratic citizenship perhaps they preferred and still prefer forms of clan or family solidarity that make the individualism implicit in our electoral rules unacceptable to them. However, new forms of nomadism are growing among people who do think and act as individuals. This includes hosts of refugees, many of whom live in limbo (camps and reserves) that block their acceptance and settlement in stable hostlands while they lack political voice in their original homelands. A tragic contemporary example involves the Palestinian refugees (click on Links). They are denied the right to return to their original homes in Israel, but they also cannot vote in their homeland. At the same time, most of them cannot settle elsewhere and become citizens in some other country. By contrast, Jews who have never lived in Israel are, nevertheless, given the right to vote in Israel if they are willing to go in person to a voting station in that country.
Perhaps much more importantly, modern organizations especially corporations, trade unons, voluntary associations, INGOs have created a modern type of nomad Their loyalty is primarily to a trans-national organization rather than a local community or state. Since all organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, make decisions affecting their members, democratic (bottom-up) responsiveness takes many forms: owners vs. employees, the state vs. its citizens, unions vs. members, corporations vs. shareholders. These modern nomads, therefore, face problems of representation at several levels: not only in the states where they live and where they are citizens but also in organizations where they work or own shares. There are no simple answers, but surely we need to think about them. 2
Problems and Obstacles
The quest for the explicit representation of dispersed communities including domestic minorities and diasporans living abroad in a unicameral legislative assembly raises difficulties that cannot easily be solved. Assuredly they would, at best, constitute a small minority of members that could easily be overruled by a dominant majority. Would it not be more just if they could be represented, as groups, in a second legislative chamber which would have a distinctive sphere of action different from that of the first chamber. A concrete discussion of how this could happen is now taking place in the UK where The Wakeham Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords (January 2000) has recommended that a New Second Chamber replace the House of Lords through an evolutionary process of incremental change. link The Labor Government has embraced this plan on the premise that the second legislative chamber could specifically represent communities that cannot be given a voice in the district-based first chamber where individual citizens are represented. This is an idea that surely should be considered in many other countries. If there were to be a clear division of functions, the first chamber would concentrate on heavy-duty legislation affecting the broad mainstream of a countrys citizens, leaving it to the second chamber to focus on important marginal questions especially those that involve relationships between communities, both internal and external. Many questions involving the internal affairs of these communities could be handled by them directly. Each chamber in the parliament could have its own distinctive spheres of primary responsibility in which it would make authoritative decisions, subject to the advice and even delays imposed by the other chamber, but not vulnerable to its veto.
This possibility provides, I suspect, an answer to a question that has been raised pointedly in the discussion of religious representation in the revised House of Lords, where the established Church of England is now represented by 26 bishops among a total of 690 Peers. For details see: link The Wakeham Commission report includes a recommendation that the philosophical, moral and spiritual points of view of different religious groups should be represented in the NSC. Chapter 15, link discusses this question, starting with the information that until the Reformation, there were more spiritual than lay peers in the House of Lords. Today they hold only 4% of the seats. However, the Commission offered no specific plan for implementation of this idea.
The proposal has, however, stirred some thoughtful discussion see, for example, a position paper by Grace Davie entitled, Religious Representation in a Revised House of Lords, MOST Journal on Multicultural Societies, vol. 1, no. 2 go to: link She writes: Are the constituencies to be represented composed of communities or aggregates and is such representation to be formalised or left to chance? Are Muslims, for example, to be elected as Muslims (representing a distinct constituency) or as individuals, taking their chance alongside everyone else? A pluralism of communities implies the former; a pluralism of individuals implies the latter.
Having posed these alternatives, she makes no firm recommendation. In part, I think, this is because the unicameral model remains salient, even though the UK debate is focused on a planned transformation of the second chamber. In an analysis of the proposed transformation of the House of Lords that Barry Gills and I have written see: link -- we conclude that group representation by dispersed communities (both in the UK and living abroad) in the new second chamber would be possible and desirable. However, we suggest that neither race nor religion should be used as a criterion, proposing instead that ethnicity could provide a basis for representing religious minorities. The main stream of faith-based communities in the UK are easily able to secure the election of members of the House of Commons on an individual basis.
Having said that, I think it might be useful for the New Second Chamber to establish a standing committee or to convene conferences at which representatives of the main stream organized religious or spiritual communities would be invited to participate a list of existing Internet sites for groups that have a global vision based on their spiritual or religious beliefs can be found at: link The approach used by the UN in recognizing Non-Governmental Organizations on a consultative basis could also be adopted by the NSC to give any religious community the right to be heard, without a formal vote. Information about this fruitful arrangement can be found at: link For the UN's directory of NGO's go to link .
A well-established strategy for representing minority parties in countries with multi-member electoral districts is called Proportional Representation. Normally PR leads self-constituting parties to nominate candidates for election to an assembly with the possibility that even minorities can secure representation for themselves. Although this electoral strategy can assuredly increase the representativeness of elected assemblies, it has clear limits. Consider one trade-off: the more members to be elected from a district, the greater the number of parties whose candidates can expect to be seated. However, the cost of increased representativeness is growing inability to reach parliamentary agreements and the greater the likelihood of impasse and frustration in the assembly. I suspect that when the number of members elected from a district is optimized, small communities in that district will still remain unrepresented. By contrast, treating them as a national dispersed community with a chance to be represented in a second chamber may well provide opportunities for them that can never be achieved in a single first chamber.
A second consideration involves constraints imposed by the constitutional system which, I believe, has to make a fundamental choice between the direct election of the chief executive, as in separation-of-powers (presidentialist) regimes, and indirect election as in parliamentary systems. It seems evident that in any presidentialist system, the executive power cannot be exercised by a coalition of parties that is possible only under parliamentary rules. Indeed, the presidentialist countries that have adopted PR systems have, in fact, experienced great difficulties and often collapsed. For a discussion of this point see: link Use of the FIND command to locate references to PR will open paragraphs in which this point is examined.
Without recommending any solution and I do not see any easy way to assure the more adequate representation of unrepresented communities I nevertheless think there are ways to enhance their representation and this should be a priority issue for democratic theory, but this surely involves recognizing groups separately from the representation of individuals. However, I think combining individual and group representation in one chamber invites disaster, but having two chambers with complementary functions seems to be feasible and desirable. Now that globalization has accelerated the movement of people across state boundaries, creating ever more diverse localities and expanding nations as global communities, this approach seems possible but it does require us to revise our definition of democracy we must replace ortho-democratic with meta-democratic theories. 3
I do not see any easy way to assure the more adequate representation of unrepresented communities so long as one thinks in terms of having only one representative assembly i.e. a unicameral constitutional system. There is surely a better way to enhance the representation of both individuals and groups, but it requires a bi- or multi-cameral legislature in which the different chambers have clearly distinguishable functions and are seen as complementary they must not simply duplicate each others functions. I think designing such systems should be a priority issue for democratic theory. Having said all of that in the context of governance within a state, let us expand the scope of this discussion by looking at trans-state organizations, looking first at those that are inter-governmental and, later, at non-governmental in organizations.
4. INTER-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
In a global context, we need to go beyond the Procustean bed imposed by our post-Westphalian state-centered way of thinking. Democratic practices are, no doubt, fundamentally important at the state level, but they are also increasingly important at non-state levels. With the proliferation of international organizations (both governmental and non-governmental) it has become increasingly important to examine their structure and conduct in a world system that has become highly synarchic which is to say that it links synthesis and anarchy, the synthesis provided by a multiplicity of overlapping associations and corporations with a wild diversity of missions, accompanied by the anarchy that arises in all the many gaps of this system, areas where no authority prevails and both local and dispersed organizations attempt to seize power, relying on violence to gain coercively what they cannot secure through responsible and representative governance.
The concept of democracy applies primarily to states, but it has been extended rather loosely to other levels: at the micro-level one may speak of democratic (vs. authoritarian) families and communities; at the macro-level of democratic trans-state organizations. Is this a proper use of the word? Can any non-state entity be truly democratic? The answer to this question depends on what one means by democracy, a key term that has acquired many, even contradictory, meanings.
Consider how the United Nations uses this word. The UN actively promotes research and action in support of democratization under the umbrella of global governance. Its usage can be illustrated by the 1995 report of the UN Commission on Global Governance Our Global Neighborhood, link that contains the following words:
As the role of international institutions in global governance grows, the need to ensure that they are democratic also increases. It is time to make a larger reality of that 'sovereign equality' of states that the UN Charter spoke of in 1945... nation- states and their people cannot but question the double standards that demand democracy at the national level but uphold its curtailment at the international level... the principle of equality of status as members of the body politic is as important in the community of states as it is in any national or local community.
Here democracy is equated with equality of states by implication, democracy at the intra-state level implies equality among citizens. Much of the literature on democracy, especially in relation to socialism and the welfare state, stresses equalitarianism, not only in political rights but also in economic status. In the name of equalitarianism, some states have centralized power and curtailed individual liberties, leading to authoritarianism. When democratic ideals are extended to inter-state relations, they involve concerns about injustice, not only as between individuals but also among states. 4
To limit the scope of the present discussion, I shall use the phrase, social democracy to refer to these concerns about equality and justice as norms. Do they not represent a possible outcome of liberal democracy, i.e. the exercise of power through the institutions of representative governance? Such issues are surely of major importance, but I cannot discuss them here. Perhaps we can consider problems of social democracy at a later time. 5 Here, let me just focus on the idea of liberal democracy as a way of making public policy in which individuals and groups are equitably represented. The three stages of democratic theory proto-, ortho-, and meta- discussed above apply directly to liberal democracy and also, indirectly, to social democracy.
The United Nations Family
Turning then to the internal organizational structure of inter-governmental organizations, let us consider first the governance of the United Nations and the large family of organizations with which it is linked. To get a picture of this network, take a look at: link Here one can also find links for sites belonging to many officially sponsored IGOs.
In addition to the UN system, there are a host of other international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental. Many of them are They can be identified through the facilities of the Union of International Associations by going to: link A generic problem inherent in the design of all these international organizations involves the constituents unit to be represented. Essentially, they are all unions of states or other constituent bodies, not associations based on individual members.
I make a sharp distinction between organizations that have only individual members and others whose members are collectivities or groups. There is no terminological consistency in the names used for these organizations. I shall refer to the former as an ASSOCIATION and the latter as a UNION. Both words are used rather carelessly with imprecise meanings, and neither identifies an organization that combines their properties. However, since the bi-cameral structure discussed above as meta-democratic involves linking a popularly elected assembly (associative) with a council of groups (a UNION), it is useful to have a term that specifically identifies this combined or hybrid structure. I shall call it a UNI-CON. This neologism, a blend of union confederal, was proposed in last year's workshop. link
In the following discussion, I shall capitalize these three words whenever they are used in the special sense defined above. Most democratic states are organized as ASSOCIATIONS, and most international organizations are UNIONS. A few state and international organizations have the hybrid form of a UNI-CON. If more of them would adopt this format, democratic principles could spread more effectively at both the intra-state and supra-state levels.
The European Union
To my mind, the leading example of a supra-state UNI-CON can be found in the European Union which has most of the states of Europe as members. As described at: link , The European Union is built on an institutional system which is the only one of its kind in the world. The Member States delegate sovereignty for certain matters to independent institutions which represent the interests of the Union as a whole, its member countries and its citizens... each national government is represented within the Council, and the European Parliament is directly elected by citizens. Democracy and the rule of law are therefore the cornerstones of the structure. This "institutional triangle" is flanked by two other institutions: the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors. A further five bodies make the system complete. Further details on this hybrid constitutional design can be found at: The Parliament link and The Council of Ministers link. An index with web sites for all the organs of the European Union can be found at: link More information about the European Union can be found at its Information Services: link
These linked sites provide a wealth of information about structure of the EU. What is relevant here is simply to outline its UNI-CON structure which, I believe, makes it meta-democratic. It appears to be quite unique in this respect but, perhaps, a harbinger of the future as democratization spreads to other international organizations. 6
In contemporary discourse, only ortho-democracies (as ASSOCIATIONS) are recognized as truly democratic. To illustrate this point, here is a quotation from Philippe Schmitter, a leading expert on democracy: ... the European Union is not a democracy, and it is not becoming a democracy. It has some, in fact even most of the institutions of most modern liberal democracies, but it does not function as a democracy. And I have elsewhere defined democracy in its most generic sense as the following: A regime in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public quorum by citizens acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of representatives. So, modern democracy then is representative democracy, indirect, and it has these three components: Citizens, rulers, accountable rulers, representatives, i.e. politicians. The European Union has all of those, but they don't fit together. European citizens do not have at their disposition sufficient mechanisms for holding accountable those who rule them in the name of Europe and European institutions.
Note: As an afterthought written after this paper was composed, would it be useful to make a supplementary distinction between groups that are organized spatially as in localities and states, and those that are widely dispersed and are linked as virtual communities living wherever they please. Imagine a simple matrix that might look like this:
|IN SPACE||#1. States||#2. IGOs (Inter-Governmental Orgs.)|
|DISPERSED||#4.Uni-Cons (e.g., the EU)||#3. INGOs (Non-Governmental Orgs.)|
In this context, consider each cell in the matrix in sequence:
#1. States. Virtually all discourse on "democracy" presupposes the location of national states within geographic boundaries and their reliance on elections by districts to select representatives authorized to make decisions on behalf of their constituents. That's the standard contemporary model of "a democracy."
What this discourse ignores is the design of responsible decision-making processes in a vast number of organized entities that don't fit this model -- they are not geographically bounded associations. Yet they are neither authoritarian nor anarchic -- they have systematic processes for making responsible decisions on behalf of constituencies, large and small -- in a broader sense, therefore, they are truly "democratic.". These entities include the following cells in my matrix:
2. The IGOs. These include the United Nations and a host of other global, regional and specialized inter-governmental organizations. Most of them link state-members that are more or less democratic internally, as visualized in #1, i.e. they are associations representing individual citizens. Since the member states authorize these IGOs to represent them in specified domains of decision-making, they are not arbitrary nor anarchic -- they are responsible structures for making public policy on behalf of constituencies. Most of them ardently promote democratic values. Hence, in my view, they should be viewed as "democratic" in character even though they are not ASSOCIATIONS meeting the classic definition of a "democracy" as "representative governance".
#3. The INGOs. Virtually all International non-Governmental Organizations are dispersed UNIONS whose members are typically (though not always) nationally identified associations. However, most of the INGOs are not ASSOCIATIONS -- they do not provide a mechanism for individual members as "citizens" to elect representatives to their governing councils. However, the members of these INGOs are usually associations that do enable individual members to elect members of their governing councils. Consequently, they cannot be classed as either authoritarian or anarchic -- they bring order within a domain that exercises authority responsibly and in conformity with democratic norms. In addition to the INGOs, there are of course also a host of national and local non-governmental associations, many of which are active internationally promoting democratic values outside their homelands. Structurally, they may also be ASSOCIATIONS, organized on the basis of traditional democratic concepts, even though they are not states that could fit in cell #1.
#4. The Uni-Cons. Strangely, there is no name that I can find in the contemporary discourse for this category, best exemplified in my opinion by the European Union. It links a UNION, as organized through a Council of Ministers who speak for democratic governments in member states; with an ASSOCIATION, the European Parliament whose members are citizens of Europe (as they are also citizens of member states).
This design is partially implicit in Federations like the U.S. where, for example, I am a U.S. citizens and also a "citizen" (resident) of Hawaii, a state in which I vote and have certain rights. However, although the U.S. Senate was originally conceptualized as a type of UNION, in fact the United States does not formally recognize or empower many of its "associated" political entities like those referred to as "Commonwealths," "Associated States" and "Indigenous Peoples." Instead, they are managed by buraucratic agencies like the Indian Bureau, and through liaison representation in Congress by "Ambassadors" who are viewed as "members" without the right to vote.
A state-level example of a Uni-Con may well be found in some existing regimes such as Switzerland and India. Perhaps one can find even better examples elsewhere. Surely, such a structure should prove helpful in a country like Indonesia that faces truly daunting problems of multi-ethnic and multi-national complexity. Actually, all the new states born out of the collapse of industrial empires confront such problems.
Actually, increasing migration means that even the more stable industrial democracies now confront major problems created by ethnic diversity and diasporization that compel us to think about the issues raised above. Would they not find it easier to accommodate the demands of ethnonations, dispersed minorities, and diasporan communities if they added to their basic legislative chambers elected by residents of a voting district a second chamber constructed on the basis of group representation?
This text can be found in link. Philippe Schmitter, Processes of change: Globalization, Europeanization and Democratization, a presentation made at a Scientific Conference, under the auspices of the German EU presidency at Viadrina, European University, Frankfurt (Oder), 17th to 18th May, 1999. Schmitter continues his argument, however, by claiming that the EU, ...at the same time lays the basis for new and even potentially expanded forms of democracy. So, it undermines established democratic relations in a variety of ways but at the same time, I think, it provides a basis for a re-structuring and perhaps even an extension of democratic practices in the future.
In view of the escalating importance of contemporary human mobility in all its forms, old concepts of democracy have become increasingly anachronistic, as pointed out above. The question is whether or not international organizations can also move toward a form of democratic organization that is responsive to the new global realities. So long as they retain the basic structure of UNIONS, their ability to do so will be limited. The example of the European Union suggests that it is possible to deepen these organization by adding an ASSOCIATIVE component in their governing institutions.
Some steps in this direction can be found already, but the trend should continue. For example, although the United Nations is a UNION of states, it does grant a wide variety of organized groups consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. For information about this arrangement see: link However, like lobbyists in Congress, they may try to influence legislators but lack any authority to participate in making formal decisions. Currently about 2000 Non-Governmental Organizations enjoy consultative status with ECOSOC. A list of them can be found at: link by clicking on General, Special and Roster . This list provides an instructive overview of the wide range of interests of concerned non-profit organizations throughout the world. Other UN organizations have similar arrangements. For a list of these organizations see: link (cited above). Among them, a good example is UNESCO which offers a list of partner organizations at: link Useful as these arrangements are, they lack the force of actual representation in collective decision-making by UNESCO, a function reserved for member states.
The International Labour Organization
At first glance, a notable exception among the international organizations in the UN system appears to be the International Labour Organization It is described as follows at: link The Governing Body is the executive council of the ILO and meets three times a year in Geneva. It takes decisions on ILO's policy. It establishes the programme and the budget which it then submits to the Conference for adoption. It also elects the Director-General. It is composed of 28 government members, 14 employer members and 14 worker members. Ten of the government seats are permanently held by States of chief industrial importance. Representatives of other member countries are elected at the Conference every three years, taking into account geographical distribution. The employers and workers elect their own representatives respectively.
The Governing Body is elected at annual meetings of the International Labour Conference which meets annual in Geneva. Each member State is represented by two government delegates, an employer delegate and a worker delegate. They are accompanied by technical advisors. It is generally the Cabinet Ministers responsible for labour affairs in their own countries who head the delegations, take the floor and present their governments' points of view. Employer and worker delegates can express themselves and vote according to instructions received from their organizations. They sometimes vote against each other or even against their government representatives.
This structure is exceptional insofar as it permits representation by trade union and employer organizations, but it does not empower individual workers or employers to vote for representatives in a separate chamber. The cabinet ministers representing member states appear to hold the dominant positions. The ILO, therefore, also has the prevalent structure of a UNION. In fact, almost all inter-governmental organizations maintain the form of UNIONS even though, in the face of massive mobility and instantaneous communications on the Internet, it would be feasible, I think, for them to broaden their base by establishing second chambers or assemblies to share power with the representatives of individual voters.
5. INTERNATIONAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
There are many international voluntary associations through which collective action is organized and sustained on a global basis. For an overview of these associations take a look at: link . Overwhelmingly, they are organized internationally as UNIONS of national associations (which are, indeed, ASSOCIATIONS). Thus a dichotomy exists between the democratic structure of national associations and the federative character of their international unions. Are these unions necessarily undemocratic because their constituent members are groups, not individuals? I cannot investigate the structure of many of these organizations here, but I can say something about a few academic groups I know first hand: they include the IUAES (Anthropology), IPSA (Political Science), and ISA (International Studies).
An overtly federal structure is reflected in the name of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnographic Sciences (IUAES). link. Its governing body is a Permanent Council whose members represent organizations and institutions in more than 50 countries. Votes in the Council are by country, and each country has just one vote. The goal of the IUAES is to promote cooperation among independently organized societies each of which may be a democratically organized ASSOCIATION. The IUAES also has individual members who are entitled to attend its General Assembly which serves in an advisory capacity to the Council. There is also a special group of not more than 20 Honorary Members named by the Councils Executive Committee for outstanding contributions to the discipline, but they have no special rights of representation in the governance of the Union. In short, the UN or UNESCO model applies here the governing body is strictly a UNION of groups, but individuals are encouraged to advise and consult on an ad hoc basis without formal representation in the government of the Union.
The International Political Science Association, despite its name, is also a UNION of national political science associations, each of which names members to its governing council. Although IPSA has individual members, they have no authority in the governing process. Only the institutional members are formally represented in its constitutional structure. link Officially: IPSA's affairs are managed by a Council, on which all collective members are represented, which meets once every three years; and, between meetings of the Council, by an Executive Committee elected for a three-year term This means that individual members have no constitutive rights they can only be represented indirectly through the national associations of which they may or may not also be members.
To clarify this point, consider that the constitution of the American Political Science Association authorizes its individual members to elect representatives on its governing Council. They are elected at an Annual Business Meeting which takes place during the Association's annual convention. The APSA constitution specifies link at Article IV, that The elective officers, except the President, shall be chosen by vote of the members of the Association attending the Annual Business Meeting, a quorum being present, provided that whenever there is a contest for any elected office or offices such elections shall be conducted by mail ballot of the entire individual membership.
Since only a small percentage of members actually attend the Business Meeting, and since at that meeting they typically vote unanimously to accept the recommendations of the nominating committee, the procedure is quite formalistic B with the proviso that in case of a contest, decisions about the elected officers of the Association may be made by all the members who choose to respond to a mailed ballot. The APSA appears, therefore, at least formally, to be an ortho-democratic ASSOCIATION. It could, of course, become even more democratic if it made better use of new technologies to assure all of its members a more authentic voice in the election of Council members.
The most efficient way to achieve more effective representation of the scholarly interests of APSA members would be to enfranchise their 36 research sections through a second assembly. They are listed with links at link . Most members of the Association affiliate with one or more of these groups, and through them articulate their main interests as political scientists. It would be relatively simple to establish a second governing chamber whose members would represent these committees. In fact, however, neither the committees nor most of the members are actually represented in the governance of the Association. Instead, we read on the APSA Home Page: A standing Committee on Organized Sections was established in 1994 to help Sections carry out their work and to oversee the balance between Sections and APSA as a whole. The Committee meets as needed to review policies and practices involving Organized Sections, to make recommendations to the Council, and to help set the agenda for the annual Section breakfast at the Annual Meeting. Clearly, the committee does not represent members in the governance of APSA B instead it monitors them on behalf of the Council, and helps them arrange an annual breakfast.
By contrast with both the IUAES and IPSA, the International Sociological Association (ISA) has established a bi-cameral system of governance that gives equal representation to its corporate and individual members. For details see; link Here we read that: The affairs of the ISA are governed by the Council of National Associations which consists of one delegate from each member country. The Research Council which is composed of representatives of all Research Committees, sponsors scientific activities of the ISA. Every four years at the time of the World Congress, the two Councils elect the President and Vice-Presidents and each elects 8 members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee administers the affairs of the Association between these meetings, while the ISA Secretariat executes the decisions and handles administrative matters.
In this neatly hyperlinked statement, one can jump to information about the identity of the member associations, the research committees, and the executive committee. This information enables members who are scattered around the world to know how the ISA is governed and how they can participate more effectively in its governance. Moreover, they are able through membership of research committees to share in decisions that affect their chief professional concerns and the national associations are also enabled to promote interests that affect their special local or regional perspectives. The new communications technologies B notably the WWW B permits members to operate in continuous contact with each other even when they live far apart in different countries and frequently move about.
On balance, I would say that the
uni-con format of the ISA is inherently more democratic than
either the individualistic design of associations like the APSA or of
federated unions like the IUAES and, despite its name, of the IPSA. The
contemporary relevance of this point becomes evident when one considers
the effects of human mobility.
Scholars are, assuredly, among the most mobile individuals,
frequently moving to different countries or universities . They normally
want to retain diasporic links to their own homeland associations for a
variety of benefits they can provide. At the same time, as cosmopolitan
scholars, they participate in research committees that focus on their
particular areas of specialization.
This enables them to vote as individual members in research
committees whose participation in the governance of the uni-con is equally
All three of these international
organizations, together with many more, belong to the
International Social Science Council,
which is sponsored by UNESCO. The ISSC has the basic form of
All three of these international organizations, together with many more, belong to the International Social Science Council, link which is sponsored by UNESCO. The ISSC has the basic form of a UNIONB it is governed by a General Assembly whose members represent constituent bodies. There is no way for individuals to become Council members, but they are often co-opted to serve on committees and projects sponsored by the Council without regard to countries of origin or sponsorship by member organizations. Perhaps even the ISSC could become more democratic by establishing an inter-disciplinary research council elected by individual scholars who have been active in their various committees and research projects. As in the ISA, it could share with the General Assembly some of the responsibilities of managing its affairs.
To bring this discussion to a conclusion and to summarize, consider that global democratization requires the spread of democratic organizational design both to states and to international organizations. However, the traditional ways of organizing democracies are not able to respond very well to new forces generated by globalization, notably accelerating human mobility at all levels. The result has been both increased diversity locally, and the expansion of nations and formal organizations on a planetary scale. To respond to this demographic transformation, a more complex structure for democratic organization is needed, one that I refer to as a uni-con. The basic idea of a uni-con is that it requires a kind of bi-cameral representative structure based on two complementary principles -- the associative and the federative. The associative chamber represents individuals who vote for their representatives in districts (whether they be single-member or multi-member is an important but subsidiary issue). The federative chamber represents organized groups -- sometimes by geographic categories as states, provinces, districts, etc. , but also through dispersed organizations that are able to create communicative networks to enable them to keep in touch and coordinate their efforts. The primary chamber may be associative or federative. In either case should have a second chamber based on the complementary principle.
In the American case, it is instructive to recall that the original design for constitutional government was confederative, based on the representation of states, not individuals. It was replaced by the still-existing Constitution in which the associative principle became dominant as expressed in the House of Representatives. However, the complementary federative principle was reflected in the original design of the Senate, and it still remains alive, though in a diluted form. The European Union was also created on the federative principle, but it has added a Parliament based on the associative principle. The Swiss constitution provides more of a balance between the federative and associative principles of organization.
In global supra-state organizations, the same dialectic is operative in some cases. The ISA after re-structuring, now represents a balanced design. However, I guess that most of the international associations are actually UNIONS, as illustrated by IPSA and the IUAES. Both, I think, would become stronger organizations were they to adopt the uni-con (meta-democratic) structure found in the ISA.
Meta-democracy has become more necessary than ever now that globalization has accelerated the movement of people across state boundaries, creating ever more diverse localities and expanding nations as global communities. Moreover this involves an expansion of our mandate beyond the terms of the discourse offered above B I believe we need to think not only about living communities that are not adequately represented politically, but also about non-living people and the environment. Clearly those who are not yet born cannot speak for themselves, nor can children, nor the earth, the water, the air, the animals and all aspects of the environment that are so much threatened by the contemporary world system. I believe principles that can enable unrepresented communities to gain enough power to safeguard their essential interests can be expanded to include also unrepresentable communities (see note #3). Surrogates for them can be created and empowered but a proper discussion of this theme requires another paper B perhaps in a future workshop.
Of forms of government in which one rules, we call that which regards the common interests, kingship or royalty; that in which more than one, but not many, rule, aristocracy; and it is so called, either because the rulers are the best men, or because they have at heart the best interests of the state and of the citizens. But when the citizens at large administer the state for the common interest, the government is called by the generic name- a constitution.
And there is a reason for this use of language. One man or a few may excel in virtue; but as the number increases it becomes more difficult for them to attain perfection in every kind of virtue, though they may in military virtue, for this is found in the masses. Hence in a constitutional government the fighting-men have the supreme power, and those who possess arms are the citizens. Of the above-mentioned forms, the perversions are as follows: of royalty, tyranny; of aristocracy, oligarchy; of constitutional government, democracy. For tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only; oligarchy has in view the interest of the wealthy; democracy, of the needy: none of them the common good of all.
The notion that democracy refers to the tyranny of the masses thus has classical justification, and this was the prevalent view in Europe when de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America. In his journey of exploration he discovered, to his own surprise, that democracy was not necessarily tyrannical and could even be found in constitutional government. Vol.1, Chapter 13, contains this sentence: ...universal suffrage is far from producing in America either all the good or all the evil consequences which may be expected from it in Europe, and that its effects generally differ very much from those which are attributed to it. link
One may infer from this assertion that de Tocqueville recognized democracy as potentially a dangerous form of government that might, indeed, produce tyranny. However, he reports with surprise that in America it has worked reasonably well, despite many flaws which he also described in his book. In his preface he also wrote: It is evident to all alike that a great democratic revolution is going on among us, but all do not look at it in the same light. To some it appears to be novel but accidental, and, as such, they hope it may still be checked; to others it seems irresistible, because it is the most uniform, the most ancient, and the most permanent tendency that is to be found in history.
#2. Nomadism is not only a way of life but a state of mind. There are people who grow up outside their homelands and are socialized in various contrasting cultural milieus. They can become restless cosmopolitans, to borrow a term from the old Soviet vocabulary, or in a more modern sense, they are just humans, cosmopolitans who put humanity above all nations, to quote the century-old slogan of the Cosmopolitan Clubs. Interestingly, there is an organization for these global nomads, and they have their own meetings and Web Site at: link .
A text from this page discusses the identity question: What is a global nomad? It's a person who had an internationally mobile childhood due to their parents' work. This differentiates these people from refugees, and immigrants, who have a lot in common with global nomads but also a lot that is different... There was no acknowledgment of the common culture that the kids from these different groups have: that of the 'third culture'. They are neither of their parents' culture, nor the cultures in which they lived, but some combination, which forms the third culture.
I can identify myself, by this criterion, as a global nomad, but I would not claim to be politically unrepresented. In fact, I believe most global nomads are citizens with full rights of democratic participation in some country, usually the one of which their parents are citizens. However, many of them travel a lot and often live abroad, so they may well be unrepresented expatriates.
#3. I think we need to expand the scope of our discussion beyond the terms of the discourse offered above we need to think not only about living communities that are not adequately represented politically, but also about non-living people and the environment. Clearly those who are not yet born cannot speak for themselves, nor can children, nor the earth, the water, the air, the animals and all aspects of the environment that are so much threatened by the contemporary world system. I believe principles that can enable unrepresented communities to gain enough power to safeguard their essential interests can be expanded to include also unrepresentable communities. Surrogates for them can be created and empowered but a proper discussion of this theme requires another paper perhaps in a future workshop.
#4. Cynics may well object that the driving force in world affairs cannot be found in the formal structure of the UN and other inter-governmental organizations. Rather, it vests in market-driven international organizations i.e. multi-national corporations. No doubt there is some truth in this view, and the global market system needs to be examined in this context. The subject is so vast and complex that it deserves separate analysis and cannot be covered here. However, there will be a panel on Corporate Imperialism at the Chicago ISA conference, as listed at: link My own paper to be presented at this panel, Price Indeterminacy in a Meta-Prismatic Context, can be found at: link
Actually, the literature on globalization views the contemporary phenomenon primarily in terms of the spreading power and impact of multi-national corporations. There are, of course, many friendly voices who view this phenomenon as essentially beneficial while acknowledging that it has risks and can produce untoward human and ecological effects. Perhaps the most friendly perspective offered by multi-national corporations and their friends can be found in the Davos conferences link
The official voice, in a sense, of the world trading community is the World Trade Organization. In the wake of the global commotion provoked during its conference in Seattle, many critics view the WTO with alarm, yet in their own way, they struggle with environmental and human issues raised by the protesters: see, for example, link Trade-and-environment material on the WTO website where one can find evidence of long-term efforts by the organization to protect the environment while promoting world trade.
Of course, there are also many harsh critics who point with alarm to the disastrous effects of economic (or capitalist) globalization. Among them some representative voices are those of the The People-Centered Development Forum, led by David C. Korten. It offers a sharp critique of the adverse consequences of corporate power in the world link A bitter assessment of the negative effects of economic globalization from an anarchist perspective can be found at: link Rather differently, a ratical critique, with strong environmental emphases, can be found at: link
The Global Compact: see link a global agreement among all the relevant social actors: governments, who defined the principles on which the initiative is based; companies, whose actions it seeks to inform; labor, in whose hands the concrete process of global production takes place; civil society organizations, representing the wider community of stakeholders; and the United Nations, the world's only truly global political forum, as an authoritative convener and facilitator.Its focus is on 9 principles listed under the headings of Human Rights, Labour, and Environment. For details, and an extensive annotated bibliography go to: link
#5. The UN General Assembly in 1948, shortly after it was born, adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the full text see: link Interestingly, the word democracy, does not appear in this document, but it does contain in Article 29 the following text: 2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. In this context, it seems apparent that the word democratic implies the equalitarian norms of social democracy, not the constitutional structure linked with ideas of liberal democracy.
#6. It is important to distinguish between the European Union and an older organization, founded in 1949 with its headquarters in Strasbourg, France, known as the Council of Europe. The CoE has 41 member states and the EU just 15. The Council's home page at: link covers all the organs and functions of the Council. Its Parliament is composed of members elected by the parliaments of member states link This makes it resemble an ASSOCIATION, but it lacks the basis of individual citizen representation found in the Parliament of the EU. Like the EU, however, it has a Council of Ministers that represents the government of each member state, making it a UNION. Thus it may be considered a semi-UNI-CON.
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