Telos-Paul Piccone Institute Abstract 2016

Can Centralization Solve the Global Democratic Deficit?

The Eurozone crisis has brought to the forefront, once again, the democratic

deficits inherent in the European Union (EU). These deficits are intensified by the

demands of global finance capital and the neoliberalization of supranational political

institutions, such as the EU. This on-going and ever worsening democratic deficit cannot

but to have negative implications for the possibility of solving global democratic deficits.

In this paper, I argue that democratic deficits are inherent in the structure of networked

political institutions because of the competing demands of capitalism, on the one hand,

and of sovereign states, on the other hand. This creates a political sphere where there are

many interests represented, but none of those interests are the interests of the people.

Further, I claim that solving the structural democratic deficit of networked global

governance institutions requires centralization and unification—effectively creating

unified institutions rather than vertically connected networks of institutions. Such an

institution would be better capable of influence by the deliberative and agonistic political

processes of the people whom their actions affect. In so arguing, I claim that liberal

political theory is ill-equipped to cope with a global democracy because of the

irreducibility of pluralism globally. Taking the fact of pluralism, and necessity of

agonism that follows from that fact, serious requires a radical theory of democracy. I then

attempt to reconcile radical democracy with deliberative democracy in order to develop a

theory of democracy that is capable of global legitimacy without necessitating global


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