It took two hundred years to implement democracy within the nation-state, from the emergence of democratic theories during the Enlightenment to the introduction of popular government after World War I. If the same process were to follow at the international level, and the treaty of Versailles was taken as the baseline for the calculation, a democratic world order could be expected to emerge by 2119 – hence the title of this book.
The point is the long perspective. Most scholars in mainstream political science and international relations are skeptical of the prospect of global democracy and believe that in the short run the fight against corruption and abuse of power is a more pressing task. This is true and very much an important mission; as such, corruption is treated in a special chapter of the book. But in fulfilling this mission, the finite goal should not be forgotten. The present good must not be the enemy of the ultimate best.
To promote short-time accountability in world politics, leading scholars suggest new, so called pragmatic methods instead of old-fashioned values such as political equality and electoral accountability. Critical analyses of how this pragmatism has already functioned in various international organizations are presented as well as a discussion of four models of global democracy: “federalism”, “cosmopolitanism”, “global corporatism” and “stakeholder democracy”. The book is a bold, unique and provocative defense of classical democracy transferred to the global level.
Today, students of international politics are learning that global democracy is not feasible. The future is said to belong to the nation-state. Still, in an era of globalization more and more decisions are made on the supranational level. Small social changes in one place have great consequences elsewhere. Rivers, winds, migration, financial operations, trade and travel do not stop at national borders. The question is not whether there exists a decision-making process above the nation-states but rather if these decisions should be made in a democratic fashion or in some other way. The reason for studying the book, then, is to obtain a critical view of the conventional wisdom today so that the goal of global democracy is not abandoned.
2119 – The Year Global Democracy Will Be Realized applies a comprehensive approach to globalization and democracy and presents new insights in the intriguing dialectics between these two phenomena. After the end of the Cold War, democratic theory has changed from “input-legitimization” in terms of voting, participation, and procedure to “output-legitimization” with an emphasis on welfare, consensus, and results. Again, Plato´s guardians are hailed as the people´s true friend, whereas the possibilities to hold the collaborating governors to account by the voters are rendered more difficult. Anyone interested in this philosophical change should read the book.
2119 – The Year Global Democracy Will Be Realized is written in a clear and accessible manner, deliberately avoiding jargon, and will be especially useful for students and scholars in political science, international relations, and related fields as well as for journalists, moulders of public opinion, political decision-makers, and involved citizens.
The Q&A session with Professor Lewin about his book can be found at the Cambria Press blog.
Watch the interview with Professor Leif Lewin.