The Inconveniences of Transnational Democracy

| March 2007
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Despite some limited moves toward openness and accountability, suprastate policy formation in such bodies as the World Trade Organization remains fundamentally exclusive of individuals within states. This article critiques the “don’t kill the goose” arguments commonly offered in defense of such exclusions. It highlights similarities between those arguments and past arguments for elitist forms of democracy, where strict limitations are advocated on the participation of non-elites in the name of allowing leaders to act most effectively in the broad public interest. Advocated here is movement toward a strongly empowered WTO parliamentary body that would be guided in practice by a principle of democratic symmetry, attempting to match input to the increasing impacts of WTO governance. A parliament with co-decision powers broadly similar to those of the European Parliament is offered as a long-term institutional ideal.

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Category: Article, Global Governance, Issue 21.2

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