Global democracy and the democratic minimum: Why a procedural account alone is insufficient

Paper by Klaus Dingwerth in the European Journal of International Relations: “In this critical comment on the global democracy debate, I take stock of contemporary proposals for democratizing global governance. In the first part of the article, I show that, empirically, many international institutions are now evaluated in terms of their democratic credentials. At the same time, the notions of democracy that underpin such evaluations are often very formalistic. They focus on granting access to civil society organizations, making policy-relevant documents available online or establishing global parliamentary assemblies to give citizens a voice in the decision-making of international organizations. In the second part, I challenge this focus on formal procedures and argue that a normatively persuasive conception of global democracy would shift our focus to areas such as health, education and subsistence. Contrary to much contemporary thinking about global democracy, I thus defend the view that the institutions we have are sufficiently democratic. What is needed are not better procedures, but investments that help the weaker members of global society to make effective use of the democracy-relevant institutions that exist in contemporary international politics”