Thursday, July 03, 2008
Politics, by tradition, has been underpinned in national political networks. State governments have the final accountability for sustaining the security and economic well-being of their nationals and the safeguarding of human rights and of the environment inside their territory. With environmental fluctuations, an increasingly integral world economy as well as related worldwide trends, political activity intensifies from the local to the global stage.
Within the system of globalization, politics can occur beyond the state via networks of political integration like the European Union and via interstate organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. Political activity can likewise go beyond national borders via global movements and non-governmental organizations. Meanwhile, civil society groups go global through establishing alliances with groups in other states, utilizing worldwide communication networks, and acting with international groups and other agents directly instead of lobbying via their national governments.
However, far from the abovementioned globalizing trend, the state is still significant and grassroots-level political actors and agents should still explore opportunities within the nation-state matrix, so globalization process should not be oversimplified. It must be remembered that the state exists because it is an important organizing concept that permits people to collect their resources for the common good and to move against common threats, from natural disasters to foreign invaders. Furthermore, the state has the final say on law. State power is also intensifying because of the increasing richness from energy markets as well as of the setback of globalization.
Also, the cultural struggle of the nation-state to crystallize its identity is offering a manner by which to construct and affirm the state’s domination over a group of people consolidated by a unifying language, culture, or ethnic characteristic. There may be an idealization of national unity, but this also results in intrinsic diversity and conflicts. In fact, identities among nations are slippery, changing even from one minute to the next. Filipinos, for example, may refer to themselves as Filipinos at one point, or refer to their regional affiliation next, or to the city or province or town they belong to on yet another time, depending on what the cultural transaction’s topic is. This struggle notwithstanding, it is hard to think of a nation being contained to just a single state or a state confined to just one nation. Thus, the molding of this cultural community hardly coincides with a political identity, posing a problem regarding the historicization of political questions in line with the historical direction of state construction.
As it is, the notion of the nation-state is already being challenged by enormous worldwide risks like pollution, pandemics, climate adjustments and terrorism. These phenomena, after all, disregard state sovereignty and hence, require cooperation of a global scale. Since the basic nation-state concept is fluid, this paves the way to the agreement that all national citizens are only individuals who are members of a global neighborhood.
To address this issue, policymakers should be able to think more comprehensively. For starters, the concept of the nation-state must be restudied, since this is taught as the fundamental unit of international relations. Apart from the discussion of balance of power, international relations must introduce ethics in international affairs such as moral philosophy, human rights and the role of non-government agents in order to create a basic shift in attitude from localization to globalization. Positive self-interest may be local, but further interests must be made more universal, as in the principles like the Universal Declarationh of Human Rights.
Contemporary political issues with a global scope get a microcosmic treatment in terms of state formation issues, so in introducing administrative adjustments like decentralization of power via distribution of executive and legislative government power, the reforms must significantly run along with the context of globalization. While countries are different from one another, institutional trends should reflect similar illustrations of changes throughout the globe. Globalization should not be seen as entirely engendering the liberal state’s crumbling of power altogether. The aftermath of globalization, in truth, is far more complicated. Portions of the liberal state like the executive branch and major departments may gain power while privatization and liberalization, among other policies promoting business economic globalization may possibly weaken the legislative branch with their result of eliminating regulations.
Studies on globalization deem the state in general, and so it is argued that the state remains the same or has turned weaker depending on whether economic globalization has exerted an autonomizing effect in intensifying executive power and enervating the legislative power. Globalization brings about transformations within the state, which are foundational, deeper and more influential although highly specialized and partial.
Markets require tiny governments to grow, economic globalization is related to weakened states and global markets suffice democracy. The point is already the complex redistribution of power within the state and no longer whether the state assailed by global powers get influenced or altogether weakened. Democracy then is decreasing in value across the globe because of the systemic globalization trend.
The social pattern the notion of democracy has been modeled for is the nation-state, after democratic rights have been taken away from aristocratic rulers. While independent nations have mutually associated since their rise, globalization only lately produces a qualitative modification in such international network of exchange of people, goods, services, capital, information, among others. As the pattern became more dense, the international exchange outweighed the autonomy of nation-states and involved all nation-states in a gradual manner. The global society is formed as driven by the globalizing economy with deep repercussions in the political as well as other segments. In effect, the collaboration of institutions and regimes turn so complicated that the network decisions vastly determine the political action of all national governments.
Nonetheless, it is noteworthy to stress the national basis of political agents, since governments remain dependent on their national electorate that impact significantly on their motion. The perspective on global issues and behavior on the international stage is generally molded by an executive viewpoint. The insights on national democratic routines are limited while global needs are put forth in justifying their behavior. Hence, the diplomatic solution then is under a global negotiation wherein national votes are given consideration. It must be remembered that globalization has modified the role of the nation-state of late because democratic regulations have become refracted on the national level whereas more decisions are legislated on a global level.
While globalization has bedeviled democracy because it helped in weakening democratic regulations, it has fortified the significant insight to the hierarchical capability of nation-states to recover from present issues democratically. If nation-states put procedural competence to higher levels of governments, democratic institutions must be created and executed to ensure that the will of the few may not necessarily win over that of the common good of the majority.
In the context of globalization, prospects of democracy and democratic arrangements may come in the form of a democratic world government. Most citizens might probably support a model like that of the United Nations, with a world parliament and the UN General Assembly forming the bicameral global legislative. The judiciary might be composed of the international courts. The executive departments may come from the existing organizations like the International Labor Organization for work, World Trade Organization for economics, Food and Agriculture Organization for its obvious concern, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for culture, education and science, and so on. The actions of this world government may be determined based on the provisions of an international organization’s constitution, such as that of the European Union. When the world legislative considers an issue globally relevant but beyond the solving capacity of national and regional governments, the world government takes care of it. Its first tasks might include peace and disarmament, ecological preservation and regulation on global basic commodities and transnational corporations.
Against this overwhelming international stage, citizens might feel victimized and desperate. Nonetheless, opportunities for concrete action may be had, defined under the comprehensive principle of localization. Citizens should not be compelled to subjugate themselves to the impositions of transnational corporations but fortify instead the local economy. The weakness of the nation-state might emerge as a chance for civil society toward self-organization in generating ideas, infrastructures and projects. Small scale projects within the local society should not be undermined in offering fruitful, democratic, and creative response to global situations. Therefore, more citizens should see both local and global as interacting within a real democratic setting.