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Author(s): Attila ÁGH

Journal: Journal of Comparative Politics
ISSN 1337-7477

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2010;
Original page

The global crisis has shaken all conventional wisdoms, including the faith in the final victory of democracy and market economy. Unlike in the early nineties when the ruling paradigm was “the end of history” (with democracy and market economy in harmony) the late 2000s have not produced the end history but the end of this naive concept due to the global crisis. More and more people consider democracy and market as “strange bedfellows” in journalistic terms. Similarly, in the early nineties the global and national developments seemed to converge in a unicentric global world order under the wise and tough paternalistic rule of the US, and by the late 2000s they seem to diverge more and more in a growing global conflict, instead. The leading representatives of the European political science have formulated this contrast very clearly. Yves Mény in his lecture “Democracy in Troubled Times” (ECPR Lisbon joint sessions, 16 April 2009) has revisited his former concept of democracy from the late nineties. After the collapse of the bipolar world, as he mentioned in this public lecture, he had spoken about the unchallenged supremacy of both market and democracy paradigms. Thus, at that time people could be tempted to agree with the “end of history” theory, but by now it has been “falsified by the recent economic and political development of the world”. The contemporary challenges of democracy – as Mény has summarized the new paradigm - have proven that democracy and market is an “unhappy couple”, referring to the term of Robert Dahl. Many analysts think nowadays that there is a “bumpy road ahead”, or “Europe is in reverse” – this is the new mainstream thinking, based on democratic deficit and global governance deficit. In this paper I argue against the new mainstream thinking with some cautious optimism. My basic argument is that (1) there is more global US deficit than EU deficit, since the EU as soft, civil superpower has proven its superiority to the US global strategy advocated by the former Bush administration that has recently been radically changed by the new Obama administration. This gives a hope that the Global Challenge can be used to improve the global governance and to get closer to the “effective multilateralism” as the EU terms its global strategy. Furthermore, (2) in the EU there is more governance (policy) deficit than democratic (politics) deficit but the EU has taken big strides in combining democracy with good governance by promoting multilevel governance (MLG). Multilevel governance may become the new paradigm not only for the EU “domestic order” but for global governance as well.
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