How Global Institutions
Rule the World
"In this thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Josep Colomer demonstrates that effective institutions of global governance exist. A single world government is neither possible nor desirable. But it is also unnecessary. Instead, a number of effective institutions already carry out essential functions of world governance. Moreover, in spite of worries about "democratic deficits", those institutions are able to meet the essential requirements of an effective democracy: representation, competence, consensus, and accountability." Martin Wolf, Chief Economist, Financial Times
“What is democracy if national governments must bow to specialized global agencies? Colomer superbly demonstrates that we already face faceless dispersed regulation that is even stranger than a unified 'world government' would be. And he offers intriguing insights into what this means for the world's democratic institutions.” Rein Taagepera, research professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, and recipient of the Johan Skytte Prize.
Does world government actually exist?
Are the current global institutions
efficient in making decisions?
Can they be compatible with basic democratic principles?
Introduction: World Government Is
The world is governed by global institutions dealing with security, finance,
development, trade, communications, environment, crimes against humanity; institutional
design is crucial for efficient and democratic global government.
Network Goods Are
Served by Simple Bureaus
Great powers, neutral countries, and small gatherings of scientists and
technicians efficiently provide global standards for time, measures, and communication
Unanimity Rule Failed
to Make the World More Secure
The League of Nations, by making decisions by unanimity, was a big failure,
and the United States
could not have done anything about it.
A Great-Powers’ Directorate Has
Averted the Third World War
The United Nations, by giving veto power to five great powers, has been
able, in spite of many failures, to prevent a new major global conflict and to foster
Coalitions for Finance and Development
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, by using complex institutional
formulas such as weighted votes and qualified majorities, have been able to create
policy consensus and adapt to periods of both depression and growth.
Equal Vote Does Not
Favor Global Trade
The World Trade Organization, which intends to make decisions on equal vote
for every country, has been paralyzed for decades and has not been able to promote
any new world trade agreement.
Self-Appointed Steering Committee
The Group of Eight has established a new world’s directorate that deals
with boundless agendas and implements its decisions through states, regional unions,
and international organizations.
Domestic Politics Does
not Make Policy
State-based political systems and partisan governments are losing capability
to make policy decisions; in many countries, broad multiparty coalitions or nonpartisan,
technical experts implement the directives of international organizations.
Requires Rotation of Countries
The principle of equal vote for every country is both undemocratic and ineffective,
while rotation of countries can induce broad international cooperation.
Are Made by Means of Weighted Votes
The allocation of weighted votes to different countries
and the formation
of multi-country coalitions
can facilitate decision-making in global councils and
Expert Rulers Replace
Politicians and Diplomats
International and global organizations rely on independent bodies of nonelected
experts to make decisions on major issues; many officials are recruited with criteria
of political independence, technical expertise, and honest behavior.
Policy Consensus Is
Built with More Ideas Than Votes
Global institutions make policy by consensual knowledge, by nonobjection
compromises, and by ascertaining the sense of the meeting, rather than by voting.
Accountability Is Based on Performance and Values
Heads, high officers, and staff of global institutions are made accountable
through transparent information, evaluation of performance, ethic standards, and
Can Global Democracy Exist?
Democracy is a form of government based on social consent;
it can be operationalized
with different institutional formulas,
including the people’s assembly in small
cities, party elections in states, and accountable institutions at the global level.