Democracy, Legitimacy, and Global Governance
What property (or properties) render international institutions and law legitimate, such that those over whom they claim jurisdiction ought to defer to their directives rather than acting on their own judgment? In this essay I critically examine Tom Christiano’s treatment of two possible answers to this question: global democracy, and an institution’s or legal regime’s capacity to enhance its subjects’ responsiveness to the reasons for action that apply to them. While Christiano rightly rejects the inference from affected interests to global democracy, his argument elides the fundamental reason we ought to do so, namely that at present the degree of cross-border interdependence does not rise to the level where it is possible for citizens of different states to treat one another justly only by submitting to a common legal order that substantially erodes state sovereignty. International law and institutions can enjoy some legitimacy on instrumental grounds, however, even if they are neither democratic nor the product of agreement in free and fair conditions.
Copyright © 2016, RACO. This article first appeared in Law, Ethics and Philosophy 4, (2016): 200-12. https://www.raco.cat/index.php/LEAP/article/view/321414
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Lefkowitz, David. “Democracy, Legitimacy, and Global Governance”. Law, Ethics and Philosophy 4, (2016): 200-12.
Lefkowitz, David. “Democracy, Legitimacy, and Global Governance”. Law, Ethics and Philosophy 4, (2016): 200-12. https://www.raco.cat/index.php/LEAP/article/view/321414