An idea of global democracy

Author : Sehaj Sarin

Year & Course : BA.LLB

College : The Law School, Jammu University


“Everybody now seems to be talking about democracy. I don’t understand this. I think of it, democracy isn’t like a Sunday suit to be brought out and worn only for parade. It’s the kind of a life a decent man leads, its something to live for and to die for.”[1]

  • Dalton Trumbo.

Global Democracy is a controversial issue, which involves different theories from several personalities. It can be called as a field of academic study and political activism. Different  people have different opinions about this idea of global democracy. It is, mainly, related to the way as to how decision making among several nations can be rationalized and who, would mainly be participating in creating global laws, rules and regulations.

KEYWORDS:-  Global Justice, International Organizations, Democratic Deficit, Global Democracy, Global Governance.


Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”[2]

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Global Democracy, as the name suggests, it means democracy or the democratic form of government prevailing all over the globe. For most of the people, it means addition of more and more national democracies, i.e. a Parliamentary form of Government, where the political leadership of the state will be decided by fair elections. This is, mainly, the subject of democratization literature, but global democracy means much more than that, if the real progress is to be considered. Basically, democracy means that the majority of the people living in the state, have a say over the main decisions, that will be affecting their lives. Similarly, global democracy means that the majority of the people of the Earth, will have a say.


“ As I would not be a slave, so, I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”

  • Abraham Lincoln.[3]

The view that the individuals should collectively rule themselves, is shared by the global democrats. Democracy should be pursued at a global level, because it is a valuable method of decision making It focuses to treat all the individuals as moral beings, which are capable of exercising equal control over their destinies.

Thomas Pagge ( 1992:48-9) has argued that cosmopolitans share at least this sit of beliefs:-

  • That human beings are the ultimate units of moral concern.
  • This status applies to all human beings equally.
  • Everyone should be treated as ultimate.[4]

Mostly, all global democrats, see individuals as the fundamental objects of concern. Global democracy is morally desirable irrespective of the benefits that will be generated. It embodies autonomy, equality and human rights. Also, global democracy is required for problem solving, epistemic, justice and legitimacy-based reasons. It is also required to generate more compliance with the International Rules and thus, will help in solving collective action problems like climate change, etc. People are more likely to comply with the agreement, by participating in the formation of law making. Global Democracy is much requires for Global Justice.

Democracy is increasingly seen as the only legitimate form of government and as more nations favor a democratic form of government, the globalization of nations is increasing. Many political scientists have identified several attributes of global democracy, the most prominent being the presence of organizations made up of different nations. They must have coalitions between their national governments with the ability to formulate global rules that can impact countries, businesses, agencies and the individuals.[5] In the words of Sabel and Cohe, “ It is like having a government over other governments.” We can already see the existence of global democracy worldwide, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), , the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization ( WTO)and the United Nations.


“Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.”[6]

  • Benazir Bhutto.

The array of trans national institutions that govern political, economic and social processes is really bewildering. Informal institutions include trans national networks, epistemic communities and the basic structure of transnational norms that make the world ‘hang together’ whereas Formal institutions include Inter Governmental Organizations (IGO), International Organizations (IO) and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO). As we know, that the number of all these trans national institutions is increasing with globalization, their capacity to exercise their authority is also increasing. Many scholars are of the view that this authority enables the view that the authority enables the international institutions to wield pervasive forms of public power  that have a strong impact on the lives od individuals. This mainly occurs through international law making, promotion of new laws and the regulatory standard setting. National leaders are not able to control the forces which have an impact on domestic institutions and citizens, this is because the decision is taken outside the state and thus, the individuals of the state have clearly no say in the global rules. This gap between the trans national rule makers and the individual rule takers is referred to as Global Democratic Deficit.


“Democracy literally means the power of people. Democracy is not about politics, it is about the people.”[7]

  • Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.

First of all, there should be more effective and efficient democratic approach. There are a lot of things that hinder the growth of global democracy. For instance, the desire of a powerful country to dominate other countries. Many nations are still in favor of localism instead of globalization, which also hinders the growth of global democracy. Also, there are a lot of wealthy nations which oppose this idea of global democracy because they are afraid that their economic prosperity will be disturbed due to the trading restrictions and the possibility of one currency.

However, digital technology can help in fostering global democracy as it has changed the whole world in aspects of consumer society, politics, living and the economy. The participation is increased in decision making in involving the public. It, basically, creates a balance in this world. It will inform the people and thus, will create transparency. Global Democracy will not happen overnight, we need to think about the future rather than satisfying the current needs. One more plus point of digital technology is, it will limit travel as the communication will be through internet, thus, will help in saving fuels, which will favor wealthy nations.


“ The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘we’- we the people. We shall over overcome. Yes we can.”[8]

  • Barack Obama.

Well, the meaning of global democracy differs from person to person, but if considered as a movement, it means giving voice to the people with the help of internet connections, which will allow them  mainly to vote on the issues that will be affecting the world

Some scholars are of the view that it is not possible to have a true global democracy as it means, to educate the whole world with a common language, for discussions, which will facilitate these discussions about democracy.


There should be proper and effective communication for the maintenance of peace and friendly relations between the nations. Accurate written communication can help in this, as it will help in avoiding any misunderstandings between the governments. Moreover, the translators must ne native speakers who have a deep understanding of the local language and the common language which will be used. This will really help in fostering the understanding between the nations.


With the broadening in the field of normative international political theory, there is this recognition that the question of conflict and power are in favor of global justice. Global Democrats focus on tackling the notion of power and they do this through a particular lens, as to how people can rule themselves collectively. But according to some of the scholars, this focuses narrow to take the proper consideration of how the power can be legitimate within the global system. There are different ways of legitimating global power that will take the context of world politics seriously. This might entail looking at values like sociological acceptance, stability or arbitration. Analyzing how these standards foster legitimacy in trans national institutions, it may help in shedding light on the fundamental features of the global political order and also, the limits of global democracy.


The emergence of the idea of global democracy is a good news for all of us. The progress may be slow, but at least we are on the right track. Global democracy will bind the nations together and will create a sense of belongingness and brotherhood. Every individual would have a say in the global decisions which will affect their lives. Global technology will help the people to participate in this, while sitting in their homes just with the help of internet connections. Global Democracy will make bind this world and will help to create transparency. The gap between the people and the decision makers will be bridged.

“ A great democracy has got to be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy.”

  • Theodore Roosevolt.[9]










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