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  • 8/6/2019 Democratizing Globalization and Globalization Democracy


    American Academy of Political and Social Science

    Democratizing Globalization and Globalizing DemocracyAuthor(s): Barry K. GillsSource: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 581,Globalization and Democracy (May, 2002), pp. 158-171Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of Political and Social

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  • 8/6/2019 Democratizing Globalization and Globalization Democracy


    ANNALS, AAPSS, 581, May 2002

    Democratizing Globalizationand Globalizing Democracy


    ABSTRACT:he article begins with a critique of the failure of thepresent world order, based on its exclusivity and reliance on a tradi-tional international relations paradigm, including nationalism andcultural particularism. The post-cold war impetus toward universalliberalism has brought about conditions rendering this paradigm un-tenable. Globalization requires a new political order if universal eco-nomic liberalism is to be stable. However, there remains a clash ofparadigms rather than a clash of civilizations, and a new balance isneeded between realist, liberal, and Marxist paradigms. An alterna-tive world order will require democratizing globalization and global-izing democracy and will rest on articulating radical new conceptionsand practices of citizenship bridging local, national, regional, andglobal political spaces. New concepts and values such as global jus-tice, global solidarity, global democracy, and global citizenship aretaking form and informing the course of the democratic revolution onthe global scale.

    Barry K. Gills is a reader in international politics at the University of Newcastleupon Tyne in the United Kingdom. He received his Ph.D. in international relations fromthe London School of Economics and did additional postgraduate research at St. An-thony's College, Oxford. He is the chairperson of the World Historical Systems theorygroup of the International Studies Association and a faculty affiliate of the Globaliza-tion Research Center of the University of Hawaii. He directs the program in interna-tional political economy in the Department of Politics, University of Newcastle uponTyne.His recent works include Globalization and the Politics of Resistance (2001,Palgrave) and World System History (2000, Routledge, coedited). He is currently work-ing on a critical analysis of capital in global history.


  • 8/6/2019 Democratizing Globalization and Globalization Democracy


    DEMOCRATIZINGLOBALIZATION,LOBALIZINGEMOCRACYIt is only fromthe nations themselvesthat reforms can be expected.

    -Thomas Paine,Preface to the French Editionof TheRights of Man (1791)

    The present world order is basedon very traditional thinking, bothpolitically and economically. Therehas been much discussion of the so-called nonstate actors and the riseand importance of nongovernmentalorganizations and other interna-tional societal factors in recent yearsof globalization. Yet we can observefor ourselves how it is still the mostpowerful governments of the worldthat determine the primarycourse ofaction and define the parameters ofmainstream discussion wheneverthere is a crisis. Thus, the embeddedpower structure of the world orderhas been highlighted even in the so-called era of globalization.Neverthe-less, if we look deeper, we can seethings differently, and we may real-ize the potential for positive change.Rather than acceptingthe still reign-ing paradigm of (past) internationalrelations,with its enduringfeature ofgovernance by a few great powersbased on their ability to use militaryforce,we must urgently look forwaysto turn to a positive alternative. Wemust search forways to break out ofthe iron cage of the old paradigms.

    FAILURE OF THE POSTWARLIBERALWORLD RDERAt the end of the last world warand in the aftermath of the GreatDepression, it was already obviousthat nationalism and empire wereconcepts that had broughtenormous

    human suffering, conflict, andupheaval. No stable or just worldorder could any longer be based oneither a narrow nationalism or thedriveforempirebythe Westernbour-geois (Carr 1968; Linklater 1997)with which it was historically associ-ated. It was objectively necessary togo beyond the confining limits ofnationalism and embrace a newordermarked by much higher levelsof international peace and coopera-tion. It was equally necessary toabandon imperialism and enter aperiod when potentially all peopleshad the right to sovereignty and inwhich all shared in internationalduties and responsibilities in thecommon world order.It was also rec-ognized, by realists as well as ideal-ists, that to enable the constructionofthis new worldorder, he Westwouldhave to abandon a narrow culturalparticularism and attempt to adoptmore universal and even cosmopoli-tan bases for the right to lead orgov-ern at the center ofworldpower(Bull1977).

    The reality, however, fell some-what short of this expectation. Post-war international history wasmarredby decades of endemic globalconflict, which historians call thecold war era. During that period,thegreat powers often acted brutallyand cynically in pursuit of their per-ceived power interests. The foreignpolicy of the West, led by the UnitedStates, sometimes sacrificedeven itscentral value-liberty-in whosename the conflict was ultimatelywaged, by making expedient politicalalliances with reactionary andantidemocratic forces and govern-ments. Rather than constructing a


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    truly inclusive world order, anddespite the existence of the UnitedNations Organization, world orderremained based on a clear hierarchyof power among states. This interna-tional hierarchy, once established,exacerbated the problem of histori-cally embedded asymmetry of powerand wealth between the Westernpowersand the formerlycolonialpeo-ples ofthe world.The opportunityforinclusion was therefore compro-mised. The world order was main-tained by the traditional means ofbalance of power, alliances, anddiplomacyin a manner that perpetu-ated the old international relationsparadigm. The Westphalian system,being based on the principleof sover-eignty for states and their intrinsicright to use military force,producedasystem dominated by a few stateswielding the greatest military andeconomicpower.With the end of the cold war camean opportunityfor the Westto reviewits policies andto reassess the projectof universal liberalism. Suddenly,there was more official support fordemocracythan during the previouscold war period of ideological andstrategic rivalry, during which theWest had often supported undemo-cratic regimes and suppressed popu-lar movements for social, economic,and political change (Cox,Ikenberry,and Inoguchi 2000). Above all, how-ever,there was a renewed and vigor-ous attempt to construct a liberalizedworldeconomyandmake this systemuniversally inclusive. Within a shorttime, this impetus toward universalliberalism based on the social andeconomic practices of the Westbecame popularly known as

    globalization. In a previous genera-tion, this impetus had been under-stood simply as Westernization ormodernization.

    It is the very extension of thisWestern projectof universal liberal-ism that has broughtabout new con-ditions that now renderthe oldpara-digm of international relations andworld order historically inadequate.Taking globalization seriously mustimply taking its logic to logical con-clusions. In otherwords,to the extentthat there is now-in the post-coldwar interregnum-already a tru