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