Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last Blog

Patomaki and Teivanen’s article discusses the need to adjust the bias of cosmopolitan democracy, a theory that requires a readjustment of the political community so that democratic ideals can be realized. The authors argue that cosmopolitan democracy models do not account for real historical processes. Many cynics argue that the opportunity for globalization in politics is limited by corruption, conspiracy, and the concentration of power within nationalistic forms like Washington and the IMF. Through the article’s study of the Mercosur region, however, are examples of national networking and global ethico-political visions. It is therefore possible that globalization can be both a constraint and an advocate of new political improvements.

The article specifically describes the European Union as the primary model of cosmopolitan democracy and regional democratization. While not perfect in spreading democracy across national boundaries, many leaders in the Mercosur , which includes Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil, see the EU as the closest thing in today’s world system. For the Mercosur to copy the EU would be unreasonable, as the two regions have experienced vastly different histories and have different expectations of and opinions on human rights that ultimately influence the decision makers of any integration process. Furthermore, there are several other regional integration projects occurring in Latin America that place it in a state of flux. It is possible that it does not have the stability to structure a model like that of the EU, especially in light of competition between the NAFTA agreement and the Latin American push for more autonomy. The effects of these differences create obstacles to the development of a global political economy. On the other hand, because many people view themselves as having European qualities, it is possible that public opinion will sway government leaders toward adopting a system that will allow for an increase in standing in the politico-economic hierarchy. In Brazil, there has been civil societal involvement in budget making for municipal administrations for two decades. This participatory budget planning has inspired other democratic reforms at higher levels, like in Mercosur cities.

Under this example, perhaps it is possible to push toward a world system united under the same economic and political ideals. It certainly seems that the Mercosur has the foundation for an arrangement like that of the EU. Perhaps the formation of another EU-like institution will create a trend that will force other compatible regions to follow suit, truly revolutionizing the world system. I am sure the path will not be so easy, though, simply because as the article mentions, different places have different histories, and on a related note, have different expectations for human rights and development. The Mercosur is contemplating the possibility of a system like the EU because they identify with Europeans to start with and are willing to follow such a model. Other regions of the world may not be so inclined to follow suit, especially where democracy is not a priority. I am most interested in if these types of institutions will form and provide further competition to the U.S. as leading world economies, especially with the rapid growth of China’s economy. If current trends continue, it seems that China will take over as the world’s leading economy, though there is time for responses from the U.S., the EU, and perhaps a new power, the Mercosur. Will these political globalization processes find success, or are they just a theory that a couple of regions appear to mimic for now?


  1. I think in the short term it is a theory that only a few countries/regions possess/mimic right now.

    Later, as things move to "equilibrium" I think the world will be more integrated in terms of more countries (or maybe one day all countries) exhibiting these characteristics.

  2. I agree with Ragini - I think it's mostly wishful thinking for now. However, the possibility remains that with time, all countries will find a way to reconcile with globalization and achieve transnational neoliberalism. Although that seems far off and nearly unattainable right now, it would be quite a sight to witness.