Corporatism is being reinvented in current theories about global democracy. As I see it, corporatism can be regarded as a practical way out of democracy’s intensity problem: whether those more involved in an issue should have greater say. By the same token, corporatism can be perceived as a response to the all-affected principle: whether those especially affected by a decision should have more influence. In nation-states, corporatism was to a large extent dismantled during the 1980s. In world politics, by contrast, NGOs are now called upon to play an important role in not only articulating intense and affected interests but also, in so doing, realizing a global democracy. The weakness of this argument is that today’s NGOs do not reflect the will of most people—as national organizations once managed to do—and, consequently, cannot fulfill the integrative and representative function associated with this form of interest politics.
Leif Lewin, now professor emeritus, held the Johan Skytte Chair of Eloquence and Government at Uppsala University, Sweden, from 1972 to 2008. His research interest is democratic theory and practice, and he has published about 35 books and many articles in English and Swedish, including Governing Trade Unions in Sweden (Harvard University Press, 1980); Ideology and Strategy (Cambridge University Press, 1988); Self-Interest and Public Interest in Western Politics (Oxford University Press, 1991); Democratic Accountability: Why Choice in Politics Is Both Possible and Necessary (Harvard University Press, 2007), and 2119: The Year Global Democracy Will Be Realized (Cambria Press, 2012). Professor Lewin is the founder of the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. E-mail: Leif.Lewin@statsvet.uu.se
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