Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Legitimacy

pg. 24: Undertake similarly practical, targeted initiatives to strengthen legitimacy, participation and accountability in the state-based core of the system 

Readers' Guide Comment on “state-based core of the system”
           
Not only is this step inconsistent with Step One, it is internally inconsistent as well. 

GRI’s recommendation is to strengthen legitimacy in the state arena, which WEF, in this step, takes as the ‘core of the system.’ However, the state cannot be both the ‘core of the system’ (Step Three) and ‘not the sole and sometimes not the crucial core component’ (Step One).

Moreover, WEF advocates the expansion of participation, accountability, and legitimacy in the state system in the same sentence that it advocates for “…embedding the G20 in a manner that achieves both greater legitimacy and effectiveness for the system as a whole.” These two goals, while not antithetical, do stand in opposition to one another. The G20 is an elite body of powerful states that, if it were to assume a role of power and authority in the international system that WEF envisions, would presumably best serve the constituents of its member states. This would erode the legitimacy and accountability of the international system for citizens living outside of G20 states, as they would not be represented in this powerful governing council.

Readers' Guide Comment on “accountability in the state-based core of the system”

The concept of ‘accountability’ is nowhere given a definition or any new institutional form. It is also used only in reference to the state-based accountability, not to accountability for the outcomes of the ‘geography of cooperation’ or in relation to accountability for impacts of globalization or of individual multinational corporations. This is probably not an oversight. One advantage of WEF’s ‘geography of cooperation’ concept and of its multi-stakeholder governance proposals is that in both concepts, responsibility is so diffused that it is difficult, if not impossible, to hold anyone responsible, let alone accountable, whatever that means. 

Related Ideas: Step Three and FourStep One; Step Two; non-state Actor responsibilities

The Readers' Guide welcomes comments with alternative examples or counter examples, supplemental assessments of the extracted GRI text or commentary – critical or otherwise – of the above interpretation of GRI’s perspective.

 

Submit Comment



Is a great white shark larger than an frog?

* Please note only your name and comment will be displayed publicly on this page.