Within the globalisation process, the principles underlying the democratic paradigm – in countries that are economically developed and have a significantly well-established secular values – do not seem to be seriously placed in doubt.
Nevertheless, what we are witnessing is a transformation of democratic systems, because, on one hand, there has been a noteworthy loss of state sovereignty as it has been traditionally conceived and, on the other, we are witnessing the creation of supranational political systems of a territorial or functional nature.
These directly affect the relationship between local and global, based on the democratic control of public decisions, whatever the territorial level of the political institution from which they come may be. It is increasingly true, in fact, that the problems of democracy are substantially constituted by the relationship between the places where political decisions have effect and the confines that these decisions cross, even if unintentionally: merely mentioning the construction of a nuclear power station or even more simply an international airport perhaps makes it easy to grasp how the consequences of certain decisions now also end up involving those who have not taken them.
From this perspective, the diffusion and strengthening of democratic practices inside the wide range of local, macro-regional and global institutions seems to be ever more necessary, developing administrative capacities and independent political resources at various levels. The fundamental issue here seems, firstly, to be the capacity to redraw the boundaries of political responsibility with respect to the consequences that given decisions have and, secondly, the fact that these regulatory structures may constitute visible and meaningful points of reference.
Perhaps it is useful to this end to create an effective network of permanent public and democratic forums, at the various levels of decision-making, that are also capable of developing a certain capacity for coercion on a global scale. Whatever the possible solution may be, the integration between the globalisation of democracy and the democratisation of globalisation certainly seems to be necessary.
Papers deadline: April 30, 2016.
This issue is scheduled to appear at end-June 2016.