Global Political Justice and the “Democratic Deficit”*

Charles R. Beitz

in Reasons and Recognition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753673
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918829 | DOI:
Global Political Justice and the “Democratic Deficit”*

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The “democratic deficit view” of global political justice holds that the existing structure of world political order is insufficiently democratic. Institutions should be reformed or restructured so that individuals whose interests are substantially affected by political decisions are provided with procedural means of exerting leverage over the mechanisms by which these decisions are made. This view rests on the precept that people whose interests are put at risk by the decisions of others should have a share of control over these decisions. But it is a mistake to extract this precept from its place within a broader theory of democracy and to rely on it as if it were a stand-alone principle. In its exclusive focus on the formal relationship between those affected by political decisions and the mechanisms through which these decisions are reached, the democratic deficit view conveys an excessively simple idea of the deficiencies of the existing structure and focuses attention on strategies for reform that do not realistically address the deficiencies. Once we grasp the complexity of these reasons we can see that the range of institutional remedies is broader and perhaps more achievable than it may have appeared.

Keywords: democratic deficit; global justice; quod omnes tangit; global governance; international institutions

Chapter.  13503 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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