Sovereignty without Borders: On Individual Rights, the Delegation to Rule and Globalization
Just as medieval municipal republics surrendered to national sovereigns in the past, incumbent states may be replaced in the future by an alternate, global public order. Citizens and merchants would obtain more equal rights, better market infrastructures, and a more efficient provision of public goods at all levels of government, from the local to the global. This proposition is supported by an agent-based, incentive-compatible model where individual rights—economic and political—are established within an ongoing bargain with rulers. Enfranchisement then shapes the autonomous dynamics of civil society and markets and, over time, allows for feedback of interests and preferences into the core bargain on rights. Hence dynamics of social change and economic growth are derived from the logic of delegation. Globalization results from a capacity to trade and associate that extends far beyond home jurisdictions, yet on the basis of differentiated, local or national franchises. Therefore, in this representation, the world is anarchic, pluralistic, unequal, and growing. Although it is not state-centered, long-term change is driven by the attempts and failures of states and citizens to establish a more coherent normative infrastructure and to respond to new social demands. From this account, we derive four scenarios of global reordering, among which maximal integration would see the classical nation-state split into two parts: a decentralized, federal structure of government; and a unified legal order that would warrant equal rights and generalized open access throughout the world.