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Democracy Reconsidered : The Prospects of its Theory and Practice during Internationalisation : Britain, France, Sweden, and the EU

by Agné, Hans

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate whether some positions in democratic theory should be adjusted or abandoned in view of internationalisation; and if adjusted, how. More specifically it pursues three different aims: to evaluate various attempts to explain levels of democracy as consequences of internationalisation; to investigate whether the taking into account of internationalisation reveals any reason to reconsider what democracy is or means; and to suggest normative interpretations that cohere with the adjustments of conceptual and explanatory democratic theory made in the course of meeting the other two aims.When empirical methods are used, the scope of the study is restricted to West European parliamentary democracies and their international affairs. More particularly, the focus is on the making of budget policy in Britain, France, and Sweden after the Second World War, and recent budget policy in the European Union. The aspects of democracy empirically analysed are political autonomy, participation, and deliberation. The material considered includes parliamentary debates, official statistics, economic forecasts, elections manifestos, shadow budgets, general election turnouts, regulations of budget decision-making, and staff numbers in government and parliament budgetary divisions. The study reaches the following conclusions among others. (i) The fact that internationalisation increases the divergence between those who make and those who are affected by decisions is not by itself a democratic problem that calls for political reform. (ii) That international organisations may have authorities delegated to them from democratic states is not sufficient to justify them democratically. Democratisation still needs to be undertaken. (iii) The fear that internationalisation dissolves a social trust necessary for political deliberation within nations seems to be unwarranted. If anything, views argued by others in domestic budgetary debate are taken increasingly serious during internationalisation. (iv) The major difficulty with deliberation seems to be its inability to transcend national boundaries. International deliberation at state level has not evolved in response to internationalisation and it is undeveloped in international institutions. (v) Democratic political autonomy diminishes during internationalisation with regard to income redistribution and policy areas taken over by international organisations, but it seems to increase in public spending. (vi) In the area of budget policy-making there are no signs that governments gain power at the expense of parliaments during internationalisation. (vii) To identify crucial democratic issues in a time of internationalisation and to make room for theoretical virtues like general applicability and normative fruitfulness, democracy may be defined as a kind of politics where as many as possible decide as much as possible.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:democracy democratic theory autonomy participation deliberation internationalisation globalisation eu budget policy international political economy parliament european integration sweden france britain

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Date of Publication:10/12/2004

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