Communitarian democracies

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Communitarian democracies, global economics impedes the possibility of creating cohesive and collective communities. With economic concerns subjected to the influences of global markets, Communitarian democracies cannot set there own economic agenda. Moreover, the Communitarian ideal of setting a collective goal as to what the ‘good life’ should be is nearly impossible since the international economic order infiltrates domestic affairs. As Pierson notes, “In practice, state organizations have multiple points of interaction with both domestic and trans-national actors and these interactions are very far from disclosing a single and unified will” (Pierson 185). By imposing an influence on states, global market forces combat the Communitarian ideal of forming a collective vision of the ‘good life.’

Chapter 8 of Holden, entitled The United Nations as an agency of global democracy (Falk) and Chapter 10, Global civil society and the democratic prospect (Archibugi, Balduini, Donati) both focus on the idea of strengthening and broadening the influence of civil society to combat (what Falk refers to as) globalization-from-above. The Archibugi, Balduini, and Donati text focuses on the Agenda proposed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, which in turn places a large focus on the democratization of the international community as the key to better international relations.

The Realist conception of democracy would embrace this sort of change. With a system that provides “a relevant representation of society” and de-monopolizes intergovernmental relations as the sole means of international relations, the citizenry of the world will realize a new possibility to voice concerns on an international level (Archibugi et al, in Holden 137). For people in Realist democracies this means that political involvement that was once only a mere ‘handing-over of power’ to a representative is now a legitimate voice to be heard beyond the confines of the state. An important feature of Ghali’s vision was the creation of UN Regional Organizations that would cater to civil society and make civil interests a higher priority.

Falk’s concept of stronger social activism (globalization-from-below) to combat global market forces (globalization-from-above) would assist the Communitarian goal of correcting the growing imbalance between private and public goods (Falk, in Holden 163,173). Communitarians would support the equalizing aspects of this arrangement since it would contribute better to the philosophy of allowing a community to form its objectives without external influences. For Falk, the reformation of states to find a better balance, “…between the logic of capital and priorities of its peoples” is paramount in the effort to promote more effective democracy. In both the Communitarian and Realist views, a reform of the international political order in this manner would be a step in the right direction.


Goldmann, Kjell, 2001. Transforming the European Nation-State. London: Sage Publications. Holden, Barry (ed.), 2000. Global Democracy. London: Routledge. Pierson, Christopher, 1996. The Modern State. London: Routledge. Stevenson, Nick, 1999. The Transformation of the Media: Globalization, Morality, and Ethics. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited. Swedish Government, 2002. The Swedish Government’s EU Policy Goals for 2002.

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