Globalisation: What implications for Democratic Decision Making?

Essay by Amoolie666University, Bachelor'sB, May 2004

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What Implications for Democratic Decision Making?

We have seen above that globalisation is putting pressure on governments to adjust the machinery of government, in order to improve their capacity to operate in the new globalised policy environment. But the challenge does not stop there. Globalisation has implications for the internal balance of power in OECD countries -- including between levels of government, and between Parliaments and the Executive -- and between groups of countries. And it is not just affecting the role of government actors in the policy process. The roles of all policy players -- interest groups, the media, citizens -- are changing in the face of internationalisation. There has been little debate about the extent to which these changing roles and relationships impact upon democratic processes, at either the national or the international levels. What effects is globalisation having on democracy?

A changing balance of power and relationships?

The internal balance of power in many countries is being affected by globalisation.

As noted above, some sub-national governments are, as a result, seeking direct representation in international decision-making fora. The rationale behind this is that

executive government is entering into agreements that have serious implications for their given functions and responsibilities. For example, environmental treaties set limits on sub-national governments' capacities to manage local land and resource use. From

the other side, globalisation is used as an argument for national unity -- that when national governments speak with one voice, the collective interests of state governments will be maximised -- as was used in Canada, with respect to the debate on Quebec separation.(18) In any event, national governments will need to develop ways to improve co-operation with other levels of government through better communication and consultation -- so as to reconcile national and sub-national interests in the global...