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Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance [Paperback]

David Held

Price: CDN$ 28.37 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 1 1995
This book provides a highly original account of the changing meaning of democracy in the contemporary world, offering both an historical and philosophical analysis of the nature and prospects of democracy today.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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"A magisterial account of democratic theory as it applies to our world of intensifying global relations and transnational networks.... I regard this book as indispensable reading for scholars and citizens alike—a comprehensive rethinking and remapping of the terrain of democracy."—Richard Falk, Princeton University


"A timely exhortation that we need to continually reassess where our thinking (or lack of thinking) has taken us and where we are likely to go as a world society if we are not vigilant! An important book for philosophers, scientists, business leaders, politicians, in short, anyone who is concerned about the fate of mankind if it is left at the mercy of a simplistic world view."—Northeastern Naturalist

From the Back Cover

“A magisterial account of democratic theory as it applies to our world of intensifying global relations and transnational networks.... I regard this book as indispensable reading for scholars and citizens alike—a comprehensive rethinking and remapping of the terrain of democracy.”—Richard Falk, Princeton University


“A timely exhortation that we need to continually reassess where our thinking (or lack of thinking) has taken us and where we are likely to go as a world society if we are not vigilant! An important book for philosophers, scientists, business leaders, politicians, in short, anyone who is concerned about the fate of mankind if it is left at the mercy of a simplistic world view.”—Northeastern Naturalist

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First Sentence
Within the history of democratic theory lies a deeply rooted conflict about whether democracy should mean some kind of popular power (a form of politics in which citizens are engaged in self-government and self-regulation) or an aid to decision-making (a means of conferring authority on those periodically voted into office). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unbalanced book Dec 7 2011
By T. Carlsson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this book because the author is slow in getting to the main topic. The total length of the book is 287 pages and the discussion on global democracy doesn't begin until page 219.

After an introductory part I the author gets to part II, which actually constitutes half of the entire book. It's a presentation of the history of the modern state and modern political systems. Not bad as a broad outline, but it's also obvious that the author is no historian. He merely skims the surface of state history with a detached theoretical perspective. Frankly, I don't see any reason why half the book should be used on a historical presentation which isn't of any relevance for the theoretical arguments at the end.

In Part III we finally get to democratic theory. But once again the author exhibits poor judgment. He spends a lot of pages on the principle of autonomy and on democratic thought experiments. These are quite abstract questions in democratic theory, and the author fails to explain their relevance for cosmopolitan governance. Spending another 70 pages on them seemed a bit pointless.

The author performs better in part IV when he at last gets to cosmopolitan democracy. This part was worth reading, but I was still mystified by the author's emphasis on "autonomy". His basic argument is quite simple: personal autonomy should be enforced on a global scale by international democratic law. If we can implement global democracy, we can effectively protect human rights, freedom and justice. This isn't exactly a deep insight. Constructing an abstract "principle of autonomy" and saying that it would be good if everyone could respect it, isn't an interesting argument. The author does offer some ideas for institutional change in international politics as well, but they don't amount to much more than pure fantasy. Perhaps he could have argued his case more convincingly if he had extended his central argument to 200 pages instead of 60.

In conclusion, I think this book is poorly structured: the preliminary parts are too long and the argument is much too short. But if you're looking for good books in democratic theory, you might want to consult this book just for its bibliography, which is quite comprehensive (up to 1995).

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