International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Global Justice

Vol. 1(1), pp. 08-18, 2018

ISSN: 2672-4464

Copyright ©2018, the copyright of this article is retained by the author(s)

DOI Link: http://doi.org/10.15580/IMJGJ.2018.1.092918155

http://imjgj.acadpub.online/

 

 

 

 

 

Deliberative society as the key element of global governance reform1

 

 

Janikowska, Olga

 

 

 

Katowice School of Economics (GWSH), Poland

 

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE INFO

ABSTRACT

 

Article No.: 092918155

Type: Research

DOI: 10.15580/IMJGJ.2018.1.092918155

 

This article is focused on one of the key assumptions of cosmopolitan and deliberative democracy, which is the opening of decision-making processes for a wide spectrum of social actors. This is especially important as contemporary statistics are indicating a drastic decline of public participation. The model of cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy distinguishes two basic levels of social participation in political processes at local, national and global level. The first and especially important level is the individual commitment, in the context of these considerations, regarded as "I". This is the basic level of civic engagement. "Participating I" is the basic determinant and condition for the development of a global deliberative society, which in model is called “We”. The most important features of deliberative society include: commitment, impartiality, "reasonableness", networking and openness. Cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy meets the political challenges of the 21st century, if the core of changes should become global justice, social solidarity, ethical cosmopolitanism, guaranteeing basic human rights for all inhabitants of our planet. The concept of cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy assumes that the process of its implementation should be supported by opening decision-making processes for a wide spectrum of social actors and, at the same time, building a strong deliberative society.

 

 

Submitted: 29/09/2018

Accepted:  25/10/2018

Published: 07/11/2018

 

*Corresponding Author

Janikowska, Olga

E-mail: janikowskaolga@

 

 

Keywords:  Democratization, global justice, social participation, deliberative democracy, global governance

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The complexity and dynamics of globalization processes has forced a new quality of international cooperation. The essence of the Westphalian constitution for centuries shaping the international political order of the world in the face of contemporary global problems, seems to be only a historical fact, not a real model constituting the principles of international cooperation.

The “new world order” that emerged after the Cold War had to face some circumstances that was unprecedented in history, namely an acceleration that never happened before. Everything accelerated, from the information flow, international trade, cultural unification to the global viruses spreading. It is believed that globalization processes on the economic, technical and technological, social and cultural levels have left far behind, those of a political nature.

Increasingly, political sciences, the theory of democracy and the philosophy of politics referring to the international order, indicate that the lack of adequate political solutions has contributed to deepening and consolidating mechanisms of inequality and injustice. What is more, a double deficit of democracy connected with development of global markets and networks of transnational corporations and their impact on territorial systems, is associated with the place change of nation states in the political arena. Secondly, with unequal distribution of forces in the world and the influence of global institutions, which usually favour global elites at the expense of the rest of the international community. These arguments more and more often lead to the creation of normative theories of international relations, the purpose of which is to propose reforms of the international order. One of such theory is the cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy model, widely discussed in my book Cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy. Political and economic determinants of the international order (Janikowska 2017 Demokracja kosmopolityczno-deliberatywna. Polityczno-ekonomiczne uwarunkowania ładu międzynarodowego).

Model was derived from the foundations of the theory of democracy, and it is based on two postulated pillars:

 

a) global governance system reformed and transformed into a cosmopolitan democracy with conceptualization of transformations at the economic and political level;

 

b) a new approach to the issue of social participation in decision-making processes based on the postulate of building a sustainable and committed deliberative society (Janikowska 2016b).

 

1.   Deliberative society

 

One of the key assumptions of cosmopolitan and deliberative democracy is the opening of decision-making processes for a wide spectrum of social actors. This is especially important as contemporary statistics are indicating a drastic decline of public participation. The crisis of democracy is a subject of current discussions and it is often pointed out that the main reason of the problem is lack of trust in the politician. Therefore, it seems, that overcoming this impasse may be based on returning to the classic sources of democracy. As the causes of the crisis should be seen primarily in the tension that arises at the level of the election promise and its actual implementation, the weakest link seems to be the representative system. It is obvious that when thinking about the complex socio-political reality of the modern international order, it seems impossible to postulate a turning away from the representative system and make direct democracy as a core system. This is mainly about the broad opening of global decision-making processes for interested social actors who, within the deliberative society, will be able to express their opinions. These opinions should have a significant impact on policy makers. That brings mutual benefits, first, citizens who will actively participate in deliberation will gain a sense of real influence on political processes. Secondly, political decision-makers, thanks to the current and actual knowledge of the needs, opinions and preferences of their voters, will be able to refer to them in their programs, agendas, decisions on a regular basis.

 

 

Table 1. Levels of social involvement in co-decision processes

Who

How

"I" - individual participation

-through individual participation in decision making processes at local, national and

global level,
-deliberative polls

"We" - organized participation within the deliberative society

through experts’ networks,

deliberation forums

Source: own study based on Janikowska 2017.

 

 

 

The model of cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy distinguishes two basic levels of social participation in political processes at local, national and global level (Table 1). The first and especially important level is the individual commitment, in the context of these considerations, regarded as "I". This is the basic level of civic engagement. "Participating I" is the basic determinant and condition for the development of a global deliberative society, which in model is called “We”. What then, should be expected from the engaged "I"? Above all, understanding that it is my participation, my decisions, that can cause changes at the local, national and global level. Therefore, it is required to create and strengthen already existing educational programs whose goals are to make people more aware of the possibility of individuals joining in co-decision processes. At the same time, it should be emphasized that an individual should in no way be forced to participate in decision-making processes, as due to idea of civil liberty he may choose to be or not to be active part of political reality (Table 2). Any attempt to make the individual active in political sense would be against the basic assumptions of the democracy.

 

 

Table 2. Levels of individual participation in decision-making processes

Levels

Instruments

Local

- individual reports sent regularly to residents of a local community (municipality, city) with information on the activities of local authorities in a specified period, detailing the most important issues addressed in public debates and deliberation forums soon,

- individual surveys for residents of local community (municipalities, cities) aimed at involving the local community in planning (shared vision of development).

- transparency of local authorities,

- transparency of budget reports,

- transparency of budget plans,

- regular public meetings open for local community,

- opportunity to participate in deliberative forums,

- free access to information on local non-governmental organizations

National

- participation in the general elections,

- public referendums, as an instrument of making crucial decision at national level,

- access to social deliberation forums,

- government transparency,

- national budget transparency.

Global

- transparency of intergovernmental organizations,

- transparency of transnational corporations,

- access to global deliberative forums,

- participation in global deliberative polls.

Source: own study based on Janikowska 2017.

 

 

 

It seems understandable that the highest commitment to the "participating I" should be expected at the local level. This is where the individual should be equipped with the widest possible competences and privileges allowing him/her to participate in co-decision processes. Thus, an individual should have the right to actively participate in the process of creating shared vision of the future, by being able to express his/her opinion on the desired directions of development. However, to be able to speak competently in this matter, one should have free access to reports on the activities of local authorities, be able to participate in public meetings, and deliberation forums, to have all possible information regarding the budget and local funds allocation. One must also have free access to the list of local NGOs and associations, so that he/she can become involved in their activities. In addition, the individual should be able to participate in deliberative polls.

At the national level individual should be able to choose his/her representatives in democratic elections. Further, the individual should have the right to express his/her opinion through national referenda, which should be preceded by deliberation forums and public consultations (Janikowska 2012b). Individual should be informed by authorities about the state of the national budget and budget plans. One should also have access to information about the non-governmental organizations operating in the country, so one can become involved in their activities.

At the global level, due to the extremely broad spectrum of global issues, one’s role should be limited to the possibility of actively joining the network of social experts that will be established within the framework of integrated systems of specialized thematic NGOs and associations. The individual should be able to easily access information on international organizations and their activities.

 

2.   Features of deliberative society

 

In this model “We” is understood as "deliberative society". The most important features of this society include: commitment, impartiality, "reasonableness", networking and openness.

Commitment - a deliberative society should be active, self-organized, decentralized, and willing to embrace initiative. It should be created as a tissue of voluntary associations, contacts and organizations. Ties, in such a society should be based on trust as well as on knowledge of common needs, and therefore it should be characterized by high social capital.

Impartiality - the main premise for the participation of a deliberative society in the co-decision processes is a non-violent discourse between equal participants, which leads to rise of ideally expanded perspective of "us". Thus, it enables the isolation of the core interests that can be generalized. Achieving a "consensus without exclusion" is impossible without impartiality. In what practical way can one achieve full impartiality within the deliberative society? Of course, it would be possible to accept, after J. Rawles, the concept of "the veil of ignorance." However, the condition of impartiality can also be achieved in deliberative society, when its basic norm becomes "ethical cosmopolitanism", what in practice is equal to including the "Other".

According to J. Habermas (2009: 35), equal respect for everyone, applies not only to the some like us, but extends to another person in his otherness. And jointly taking responsibility for another, as one of us, refers to the flexible “we” of such community that defies all substantiality and moves its leaking boundaries. Such a moral community is constituted by the idea of removing discrimination and suffering, as well as considering marginalized groups and individuals. Community designed and constructed as such, is not a collective that would force anyone to affirm their way of life. Inclusion in this case does not mean to include what is your own and shutting off from what is different. Inclusion of the other, means rather, that the community is open to all. The basic assumption for a deliberative society should be to recognize the norms of ethical cosmopolitism as its core value. On the other hand, the foundation for enforcing basics of that cosmopolitanism should be obligatory basic human rights, equating the rights of people around the world in their basic scope. That introduces a new and interesting element for consideration related to the essence of deliberative democracy.

As D. Held writes, “the dilemma (..) that stands before theory can be express as follows: the good of the whole in a democratic concept cannot be nothing more than the effect of aggregation of certain individual preferences, or in the process of forming them it is worth appealing to a serious public debate and reflection" (Held 2010: 301). When we assume that the global discourse will be driven by a society that respects the cosmopolitan norms and basic human rights, there is a chance for a consensus free from exclusion and which is not an expression of hegemony and specific power relations.

Reasonableness - the rationality of a deliberative society can become a launch of discussion that will disprove the thesis that there is no way to reach a consensus without exclusion. When we accept, what enthusiasts of deliberative democracy are willing to do, that democratic processes and institutions should be shaped by sensible political judgments, it may seem that deliberative society and decisions made within it may be based on elitism, since that some citizens may be better prepared to make decisions than others. Początek formularzaAccording to R.A. Dahl it is an unwise and historically wrong argument. It is unwise as “democracy is usually regarded as a system in which thanks to the “rule of the people" there is a greater chance than in the system in which the elite decide, that the people will get what they want, what they think is the best form them. To know what is best for them, people obviously must have some knowledge. Because the supporters of democracy have always stressed the role of informing and enlighten demos, such as education and public discussion, this objection is also false from the historical side "(Dahl 2012: 165). As B. Manin notes, "we need to radically change the perspective of the joint liberal theories and democratic thought; the source of legitimacy is not the pre-determined will of individuals, but the process of its formation, or reflection, as such" (Manin after Held 2010: 302). Therefore, the "reasonableness" of the deliberative society should be based on "rational" political decisions developed as part of a continuous learning process (Table 3).

 

 

Table 3 Basic criteria of "reasonable" political judgment

  Including facts:

    judgment cannot be ignorant or doctrinaire.

 

 Including future:

    judgment cannot be mycotic.

 

 Including others:

    judgment cannot be egoistic.

 

Source: own study based on Held 2010.

 

 

R.A. Dahl (2012: 165) recognizes that "decision-making procedure should also been assessed in terms of opportunities for citizens to gain knowledge on means and objectives, recognize their own interests and the consequences, which his decisions made may have for him and other people". The process of learning in deliberative society should allow "people becoming acquainted with a number of problems. Understanding them is necessary to issue a sensible and reasonable political judgment. This is not about imposing some abstract predetermined norm of rationality, but about considering political life as a continuous, never-ending learning process in which the roles of the "teacher" and "the course" are revealed, and the subject of science is established during the course "(Held 2010: 302). Learning should become a permanent element which characterizes the deliberative society, which therefore, should be defined by high human capital.

Within deliberative society, specialized working groups should be created (define by the subject of interest), composed of representatives of all active non-governmental organizations and associations (local, national and global) dealing with specified problem area. Therefore, as a part of specialized social networks, it is necessary to create social expert panels, which in theirs designs should constitute an important advisory body for adequate governmental and non-governmental organizations. Therefore, as part of the network of specialized social groups, it is necessary to create social expert panels, which should constitute an important advisory body for adequate international non-governmental organizations. Their expert activity should be multidimensional and multi-staged.

Creating social thematic networks gives possibility of civic involvement in co-decision processes and that corresponds with the concept of risk society represented by U. Beck. As the author writes, "behind the multiplicity of interests lies the reality of a risk that does not know social and national differences or boundaries. (...) This does not mean, of course, that there will be great harmony in the face of the growing civilization risk "(Beck 2004: 60-61). Although the risk polarizes, creates new conflicts, it also brings, according to U. Beck, certain benefits. "As the risk increases (…) differences disappears. (...) By increasing the dangers of multiple interests, the risk community becomes a reality. The experience of risk means that regardless of how far it reaches, community despite various obstacles is created. To prevent threats involved for example with nuclear energy, poisonous waste or the devastation of nature, members of various classes, parties, professional and age groups organize themselves in the form of civic initiatives "(Beck 2004: 61-62).

According to U. Beck, the political strength of the risk society is still not spent. "Even if it lacks (yet) awareness and forms of political organization, it can be said that the risk society in its threat dynamics undermines national borders as well as the limits of economic and political blocks" (Beck 2004: 62). Thus, in case of a society of risk - communities of threats are created and they "can only be contained in the framework of world society" (Beck 2004: 62). The specifics of modern world’s problems lead to the conclusion that most of them should be solved above territorial borders and through international agreements. Modern threats cause emergence of risk society, constitute the necessity of networking in the deliberative society. However, necessary condition for such an organization is knowledge and information. Therefore, as part of networking, most important condition is unrestricted and information flow between the participants of the deliberative society.

Openness - a deliberative society should be an open one (Table 4). In the first approach, the openness of the deliberative society will be considered in the way proposed by K. Popper, what means it should be a society in which the "in which individuals are confronted with personal decisions". K. Popper (1987; 2006) assumes that there is a very wide spectrum of human points of views and conflicting interests, which is why there is a clear need to shape a system of institutions that will allow peaceful coexistence. These institutions, according to the idea of democracy, contains freedom of speech as well as freedom of choice. Additionally, political freedom and human rights are claimed to be foundation of an open society.

In the second approach, the openness of the deliberative society will be understood as the one that gives the possibility of including everyone who has such a will into networks existing within the deliberative society. Therefore, anyone who has such will, can move from the level of "participative I" to the level of "participating we" and within "participating we" take actions to contribute in co-decision processes. Thus, if interested party wants to join activities of an international eco-friendly organisation, and then within the framework of this organisation to participate in the deliberation forums, nothing should prevent him/her from action. Of course, an individual during the first period of its membership at organization, association, circle, should undergo an "educational course", the purpose of which is to give him/her a basic knowledge of organisation activities, procedures and its processes. As part of this course, the roles of the student, teacher and course content are being discovered (this corresponds to the rationality of the deliberative society).

 

 

Table 5. Dimensions of the deliberative society openness

Dimensions

„Openness”

„Participating I”

-everyone should have the right to make personal decisions and choices.

-everyone has the right to participate in the activities of "participating us" regardless of race, gender, place of residence, religion.

 

“Participating we”

-each association, organization, group has the obligation to open its activity to any interested “Participating I”

Source: own study

 

 

To sum up, it is postulated that the deliberative society should be guided by the cosmopolitan norms of respect and responsibility for everyone. That gives a chance to fulfil the condition of impartiality. Moreover, the deliberative society should be both active and open. Thanks to the activity, it will be involved in co-decision processes, while openness will affect its development. Any willing party will be able to join in activities of deliberative society. The reasonableness will be very important attribute, rationality should be based on a continuous learning process.

 

 

Table 6. Features of the deliberative society

Commitment

Social capital, activity, innovation, trust

 

Impartiality

Ethical cosmopolitism, human rights, including the "Other"

 

Reasonableness

Human capital, continuous learning process

 

Networking and openness

The will to cooperate above divisions within the risk society, freedom of speech, freedom of choice, democracy

Source: own study

 

 

 

Within deliberative society, specialized networks and working groups should be created, and an organized and networked deliberative society should be an important partner for dialogue both with governmental and international organizations. For example, an organization associating local merchants should be a contributor in deliberative forum which debates on important decision for local trade. Of course, there will not be attempted to restrict these deliberations in the framework of a specialized organization and local authority. Any other party that has such a will, will be allowed to deliberate without becoming a member of the organization. The only condition for the participation will be familiarization with materials regarding the current situation of both merchants and trade in interest to parties. These materials should be delivered to the party at its request, both by an organization associating local merchants and by the local authority. Situation of the individuals will be the same at all levels of participation. Thus, at any time, the party interested in deliberation will be able to participate in the forum, fulfilling pre-specified condition - getting acquainted with the object of deliberation. Thanks to this, it seems possible to reach a predetermined condition, namely "reasonableness of the judgments".

At the national level, when decisions made by the authorities, concerns national rather than local trade, all interested parties should be guaranteed the opportunity to participate in the national deliberation forum. The organization of such a forum should be prepared by the state authorities, announced, six months in advance, on relevant websites. From that date, organizations and parties after fulfilling the pre-defined conditions, may submit their application. Nation-al-level deliberation forums may have different forms such as:

 

a) actual real-time meetings, which however, may be difficult due to organizational reasons,

b) e-meetings via internet platform.

 

The first step for creating specialized global level working groups should be formation of relevant websites (online platforms) where the organizations interested in deliberation will be able to indicate their willingness to cooperate and participate in deliberation. All those non-governmental organizations, associations should have access, as well as parties after fulfilling the previously discussed conditions. These platforms would enable interested parties, for continuous cooperation and exchange of ideas and points of views.

However, when key decisions regarding, for example, international trade are made, the appropriate intergovernmental organization should announce on the websites six months in advance that the recruitment process has started for global deliberation forum. At that time all interested organizations, associations as well as individuals will be able to submit their applications after fulfilling the pre-defined requirements. Deliberation forums at the global level should take place on previously created and operating internet platforms. It is also assumed that deliberative society should be an important element in the process of "education of individual". Therefore, appropriate organizations, associations or foundations should make efforts, so everyone can become familiar with their area of activity. It is also important that organizations, associations and foundations know and take into the account results of deliberative polls about interest to them, which will allow for greater objectivity.

Therefore, it is recognized that the basic postulate of cosmopolitan and deliberative democracy at the social level is to create a deliberative society equipped with opportunities to join local, national and global decision-making processes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 7. The participation levels of the deliberative society in the decision-making processes

Participating ‘we”:

Tools:

Local

public consultations,

deliberation forums,

creation of deliberative working groups,

free access to the result of deliberative polls,

National

public debates,

social deliberations,

 actual real-time meetings,

 e-meetings via internet platform

Global

public debates,

deliberative working groups,

e-meetings via internet platform

Source: own study

 

1.   An expert decision maker

 

According to J. Habermas (1999), the world of life is opened only for the subject who makes use of his linguistic competence and ability to act. Therefore, the first and most important condition for participation in the world of life is the use of language competences. In view of the above, we assume that the most important element of decision-making by many decision-makers should be their mutual communication. It is believed to be an indispensable element of cosmopolitan and deliberative democracy. The basic tool enabling deliberative society involvement in decision-making processes should be social consultations, deliberation forums, referenda (local, national, global). Their task should be to achieve a social consensus - concerning a given problem field. According to J. Habermas (1999: 210), "those who want to reach agreement must establish common standards based on which they can decide whether the consensus takes effect". This common standard for deliberative society, as mentioned earlier, should be the cosmopolitan norm of responsibility for "Others" while respecting their views, religions, racial affiliation, gender, culture.

Therefore, we will consider the case of the decision-making process in which many decision-makers will be involved. It is important to pay attention to the lack of hierarchical relationships between these decision-makers. It seems the condition of a discourse free from violence, injustice and bias is met. The lack of hierarchical connections is indispensable. However, is it possible? Are there no hierarchical relationships between social decision makers (who we understand as members of the deliberative society) and political decision-makers? It seems that the emergence of the so-called "expert decision maker" turns out to be necessary, which means choosing the "superior decision maker”.

Such a model has already found application in the field of "co-decision" on global environmental issues and it can be an example of possibilities for practical application of conditions for cosmopolitan and deliberative democracy. First, environmental problems are global - that is, they affect all inhabitants of our globe. Secondly, the effects of environmental hazards are unevenly distributed - for example, a country exceeding emission limits will not always face the consequences of its emissions, as they can affect people living on another continent - thus environmental problems will be related to the standard of responsibility for "Other" and further with the postulated condition of impartiality. Thirdly, environmental problems are long-term ones - which means that thinking about them should be accompanied by a global and intergenerational justice standard. Fourthly, environmental problems are accompanied by far-reaching disappearing borders between local, national and global. Thus, the boundary between what is "ours" and what is “yours” is clearly blurred. And finally, environmental problems are real threat to our future existence - therefore, the risk experience creates a community focused on threats, or the society of risk. Community, bonded by knowledge of threats.

That brings the conclusion - a society focused on environmental protection meets all the conditions of a deliberative society, because it is involved, networked, open and reasonable. The history of implementing postulates of international environmental protection indicates that social involvement in decision-making processes is a real possibility. What's more, the role of the "expert decision maker" clearly manifests here.

The decision-making process in a deliberative society should be implemented by:
• Social deliberation - with no hierarchical connections between deliberators.
• Revealing the role of the "expert decision maker" - meaning adequate international organizations or other policy-makers legitimized to take key and binding decisions.

It is very important to clearly indicate that deliberation is a special form of social opinion that requires consideration of important facts and ethical issues, balancing alternatives to different perspectives and understanding the consequences of these alternatives. Therefore, it should be assumed that many difficult decisions may never be completely resolved. Therefore, due to the nature of social problems, it is sometimes better to make temporary decisions based on available information and considering the divergent interests of stakeholders (Carcasson and Sprain 2010).

Therefore, having in regard the above, the proposed model assumes that the decision-making process should consist of the following stages:

 

    planning activities: establishing and achieving agreement by the stakeholder forum, regarding the objectives of the action, setting goals, strategies and participation of individual groups in achieving these goals.

    creating of action plan

    presenting the proposal to “expert -decision maker”

    verification, modification, acceptation by the “expert -decision maker”

    implementation and supervision: creation of partnership structures for the implementation internal management of the action plan; monitoring activities and changes

    evaluation and feedback: systematic assessments using appropriate indicators; repeated analysis and / or planning of activities at the levels of individual goals,

    if it is necessary to continue iterative modification, carried out in the above scheme.

 

 

SUMMARY

 

The paper introduces the concept of a deliberative society, which refers to the community of citizens participating in the decision-making processes of the global community. Its most important features include: commitment, impartiality, "reasonableness", networking and openness. The presented considerations propose a new approach to the issue of social participation in decision-making processes based on the postulate of building sustainable and committed deliberative society. Cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy meets the political challenges of the 21st century, if the core of changes should become global justice, social solidarity, ethical cosmopolitanism, guaranteeing basic human rights for all inhabitants of our planet. The concept of cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy assumes that the process of its implementation should be supported by opening decision-making processes for a wide spectrum of social actors and, at the same time, building a strong deliberative society. Societies that, taking active part in debates, discussions and organized conversations, will engage in democratic practice, becoming an important guide for those making political decisions. Important is the fact that through the educational power of public deliberation processes, a process of generating communion between citizens of the global international community, the justice of social deliberation procedures, the quality of the results of public deliberation and the adequacy of political ideas aggregated by deliberative democracy will take place.

 

 

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Cite this Article: Janikowska, O (2018). Deliberative society as the key element of global governance reform. International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Global Justice, 1(1): 08-18, http://doi.org/10.15580/IMJGJ.2018.1.092918155

 

 

 


1 This paper is a  part of debate on the need of urgent global governance reform. The author's concept of the global governance transformation towards international order based on global justice assumptions was wildly discussed by the author in the monograph"Cosmopolitan-deliberative democracy. Political and economic determinants of the international order". The presented paper focuses on the transformation proposals of the international order at the social level and is a partial resume of the mentioned above monograph.