Lecture at LSE explores democracy and inequality, recommends a global parliament
The issue of a global parliament was brought up last month in a lecture at the London School of Economics (LSE) that was given by Dena Freeman, a Senior Visiting Fellow in the university’s Department of Anthropology and Deputy Director of One World: Movement for Global Democracy. Talking to a packed room of academics and staff from London-based think-tanks and NGOs on the topic of democracy and inequality in the context of globalization, Dr. Freeman explained how neoliberalism and globalisation had led to a process of de-democratisation, particularly in economic policy making, and argued that this is the underlying cause of the recent increase in inequality in much of the world.
Dr. Freeman argued that the economy has been de-democratised in three main ways – certain economic matters have simply been taken out of democratic political control (for example much monetary policy is now decided by ‘independent’ central banks and not by elected politicians); in other cases the policy options available to economic policy-makers have been limited by the new dynamics of (undemocratic) global governance and the forces of globally mobile capital; and in many countries the shift from government to ‘governance’ has meant that there is less accountability in the policy-making process itself and that undemocratic business interests are increasingly involved. In all these changes the power and influence of capital has increased, while that of labour has decreased. “The result? The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer,” Dr. Freeman concluded.
Dr. Freeman argued that in order to change this sorry state of affairs it was imperative to democratise economic policy making at both the global and the national level. In her view, “this would mean devising ways to both democratise global economic governance and to re-democratise national level economic governance. It could involve a process of bringing policy-making back from decentralised networks and into state structures at the national level, alongside the creation of state-like structures at the global level which would be able to regulate global capital for the good of society…” As part of the process of building global democracy she called for a global parliament, saying that such a body was necessary to provide a political space to discuss global policy alternatives and to bring about a left / right debate at the global level. She concluded: “if we are serious about tackling inequality then we must be serious about democracy.”
The lecture was hosted by the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute.
You can listen to the lecture here.