Tourism & Culture

Myopic Democracy

August 2023
By Gianni Pittella

In these days when commitments are relaxing, I stop to think about the major issues facing humanity today.

I find some of more significant severity: the deep social and economic inequalities, the dominance of financial capitalism, the contradictions and resistance to reducing CO2 emissions, the lack of governance of migratory flows, the underestimation of the impact of artificial intelligence on life and people’s rights.

And as I try to examine them one by one, a crucial question emerges: who can address and solve these issues that transcend national borders and have a global scope?

It is the unresolved knot for decades, since the globalization of the economy and trade has not been accompanied by a strong and authoritative globalization of politics and institutions.

Nation-states are not capable of responding to issues that cross their borders, and to this on one hand, there is a response by accentuating the nationalistic push and calling for the blockage of globalization, on the other hand, there is a stuttering desire and aspiration for global governance without proceeding to create its implementation tools.

The European Union from this point of view represents an important example of supranational governance, but to date, there is a lack of a shared political project to guide it towards authentic political subjectivity.

And the United Nations, another global player, suffers due to a precise will of its members, from a disarming political dwarfism.

To this contradiction of our time, between global challenges and national powers, which is the real cause of the crisis of liberal democracies, Jan Zielonka dedicates his latest book “Myopic Democracy.”

It is a highly argued reflection that concludes with a suggestion that should interest those who want to relaunch politics and democracy as a response to the challenges of the world.

The idea is to create an institutional partnership between public entities, organized subjects, private individuals, and representations of the third sector at the national, European, and global level.

In essence, a sort of Economic and Social Council with decision-making powers, a transformation of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions into the second legislative chamber of the European Parliament.

I am not saying that such proposals or others contained in the book are all shareable or feasible, but I have no doubts that the great theme Zielonka addresses is the theme of the fatigue of our democracies and should be prominent in the political debate, a year, moreover, from the European elections.