Synthesis Philosophica 24 (1):65-78 (2009)

One of numerous definitions of globalization describes it as a dynamic process whereby the social structures of modernity, such as capitalism, bureaucracy, high technology, and philosophy of rationalism and liberalism are spread the world over. Indeed, in that sense, liberalism has in general prevailed as the authoritative policy framework in present-day globalization. Most governments have promoted neoliberal policies toward globalization, as well as influential multilateral agencies have continually linked globalization with liberalization. Champions of neoliberal globalization have also abounded in commercial circles, particularly in the financial markets and among managers of transborder firms. Business associations and business-oriented mass media have likewise figured as bastions of neoliberalism which has overall ranked as policy orthodoxy in respect of globalization. Generally speaking, neoliberal ideas recently gained widespread unquestioned acceptance as “common sense”. On the other hand, neoliberalism as a sort of philosophical, political and economic theory known as libertarianism, which has generally prevailed as theoretical approach in contemporary globalization, does not have much in common with the ideal of liberal democracy of well-ordered society, which arises from quite different ideas, aspects and dimensions of liberal philosophy. Social philosophy of liberalism, developed by Kant, Hayek, Dworkin and Rawls, has promoted the idea of modern liberal democracy which is generally based on the rule of law, protection of human and civil rights, ideas of equality and justice as fairness. In that sense “affirmative action” programmes in favour of the least advantaged groups are fully consonant with a general liberal philosophy that protects individual rights. Economic and cultural globalization should be accompanied by a clear conceptual analysis and a normative requirement of a globalization of responsibility in order to protect the global future of humankind. A democratic control as well as the rule of law in our globalized world is necessary, too. Central tasks of global policy to prevent global chaos as a consequence of uncontrolled globalization include, among other things, a legalized international order with a sort of global democratic governance. Concerning the improvement of global democracy and global rule of law the genuine question is: who can realize a policy of global governance in our divided world?
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