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The Politics Thread 2019

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2 hours ago, Kopfkino said:

Supranationalism is admittedly a loose and wooly expression and it's not completely supranational but I can't agree that it's an intergovernmental union, nor was it intended to be. The Council (itself somewhat problematic because parliament can't hold to account our government's actions within the Council) is somewhat intergovernmental (QMV means it isn't quite as intergovernmental as some would have you believe) and the Council has a role in setting the direction and conferring powers but the EU already has its own legal order (which has primacy over national law), something that resembles its own executive and legislative, its own judicial authority, and its own monetary authority. Its institutions act within the cumulative European interests That's a hell of a lot more than actual intergovernmental institutions like the UN, NATO, WTO, WHO OPEC etc etc. It's a uniquely powerful transnational legal regime which I think makes it far more supranational than intergovernmental. I mean technically its a 'sui generis' international organisation. 

 

That's fine if you define and judge democracy solely with respect to representativeness. But that'd be very narrow. Democratic systems have always been a trade off between accountability and representativeness, the UK's system of parliament and elections being more accountable v representative, for the EU elections (the system for EU elections is still a UK decision rather than conferred by the EU of course) is better set up for representativeness over accountability. Accountability is something the EU is relatively poor at. But there's still a lot more to democratic legitimacy than either representativeness or accountability. Tony Benn's 5 questions are a reasonable starting point but also actually you have to account for citizenship, shared experiences, aspects of culture and national constitutions when thinking about democratic legitimacy. That might get a groan and its unfair on the EU because its something that requires time (in 150 years people probably wouldn't bat an eyelid), it's important for democratic legitimacy. 

 

But yes more needs to be done at home and people should start applying principles at home across the board, ie not supporting something wholly undemocratic to deliver the outcome you want.

Sorry if you've answered this before Kopf but I am interested...where do you stand on the necessity and role of intergovernmental or even supranational organisations in the future?

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10 hours ago, leicsmac said:

Sorry if you've answered this before Kopf but I am interested...where do you stand on the necessity and role of intergovernmental or even supranational organisations in the future?

 

Obviously there's absolutely a necessity for some form of strong international cooperation of governments in a smaller world where problems are increasingly global in nature and cross border. No idea how to achieve it though. I guess the problem with integovernmentalism is that the international law it produces is too often impotent because intergovernmental talks often end up as a giant compromise that achieves not a lot beyond PR. There's few intergovernmental organisations, many have aspects of supranationalism, that have teeth. WTO springs to mind but even that is losing it now. It will always have a role because a)states want to try to coerce each other b)they like the PR and c)it's a fun game, but I'm not confident it will ever be as effective as we'd like/tell ourselves it is. Actually I say that, but Efta/EEA is a bit more intergovernmental, sort of sits between the two so maybe there is hope, maybe those sorts of arrangements are the future.

 

Supranationalism overcomes some of the ineffectiveness after the intitial stage of conferring powers to a higher legal order but surely involves moving people further from the seat of power, a constraint on democracy, and it becomes a bit like saltwater where the more power it gets the more it wants. It needs a specific purpose, be genuinely global and to somehow be limited to its purpose imo (I'm not sure it supranational then though). So you could set up a supranational body that's responsible for, let's say for ease, environmental preservation and it'd likely be quite effective and is probably the best route to solving such a problem. But realistically, it's just not going to happen within the imaginable future.

 

The role then for supranationalism is likely to only ever be regional and it could have some success in this way. Because what is the point of deepening the EU and ever closer union now? It's really just to create a Europe that can compete on geopolitics with the US, China, and India going forward. Basically just become a bigger nation state. And that could also potentially work for Mercosur, parts of Africa, or South East Asia.

 

That being said, just popped into my head, I've always thought trade was the best route for ensuring nations cooperate and solve the big problems. As I said, the WTO has been one of the more useful intergovernmental organisations and trade treaties usually stand up better than average for international law. The EU has become a behemoth of trade and regulation so maybe the future is regional, somewhat supranational, trade blocs binding each others hands through trade. Eventually we come to a world steel and coal community that becomes the world economic community and then the world union which creates a system of government better than democracy that still leaves people in control of their own destiny. As you can tell I've flummoxed myself and tied myself up in knots desperate to believe we can rise above playing politics all the time but also protect and strengthen democracy. Realistically, the future's just going to be more of the same really isn't it?

 

 

Edited by Kopfkino

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3 hours ago, Kopfkino said:

 

Obviously there's absolutely a necessity for some form of strong international cooperation of governments in a smaller world where problems are increasingly global in nature and cross border. No idea how to achieve it though. I guess the problem with integovernmentalism is that the international law it produces is too often impotent because intergovernmental talks often end up as a giant compromise that achieves not a lot beyond PR. There's few intergovernmental organisations, many have aspects of supranationalism, that have teeth. WTO springs to mind but even that is losing it now. It will always have a role because a)states want to try to coerce each other b)they like the PR and c)it's a fun game, but I'm not confident it will ever be as effective as we'd like/tell ourselves it is. Actually I say that, but Efta/EEA is a bit more intergovernmental, sort of sits between the two so maybe there is hope, maybe those sorts of arrangements are the future.

 

Supranationalism overcomes some of the ineffectiveness after the intitial stage of conferring powers to a higher legal order but surely involves moving people further from the seat of power, a constraint on democracy, and it becomes a bit like saltwater where the more power it gets the more it wants. It needs a specific purpose, be genuinely global and to somehow be limited to its purpose imo (I'm not sure it supranational then though). So you could set up a supranational body that's responsible for, let's say for ease, environmental preservation and it'd likely be quite effective and is probably the best route to solving such a problem. But realistically, it's just not going to happen within the imaginable future.

 

The role then for supranationalism is likely to only ever be regional and it could have some success in this way. Because what is the point of deepening the EU and ever closer union now? It's really just to create a Europe that can compete on geopolitics with the US, China, and India going forward. Basically just become a bigger nation state. And that could also potentially work for Mercosur, parts of Africa, or South East Asia.

 

That being said, just popped into my head, I've always thought trade was the best route for ensuring nations cooperate and solve the big problems. As I said, the WTO has been one of the more useful intergovernmental organisations and trade treaties usually stand up better than average for international law. The EU has become a behemoth of trade and regulation so maybe the future is regional, somewhat supranational, trade blocs binding each others hands through trade. Eventually we come to a world steel and coal community that becomes the world economic community and then the world union which creates a system of government better than democracy that still leaves people in control of their own destiny. As you can tell I've flummoxed myself and tied myself up in knots desperate to believe we can rise above playing politics all the time but also protect and strengthen democracy. Realistically, the future's just going to be more of the same really isn't it?

 

 

I really hope that you're wrong, because I believe the bolded part to be absolutely what is required. Of course, however, this is a most astute analysis and you are, sadly, probably right.

 

More of the same it is, with all the consequences that entails. I wish I could worry as much about the future as many folks do, viz. a lot less.

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