Good Example Of Essay On Globalization Represents The Reality That We Live In A Time
when the walls of sovereignty are no protection
against the movements of capital, labor,
information and ideas—nor can they provide effective
protection against harm and damage.
Rosalyn Higgins (Higgins, R., 1999, p.82).
There are few terms that we use so frequently but
which are in fact as poorly conceptualized as globalization.
Anthony Giddens (UNRISD, 1996, n.d.)
History has proven that international law, the concept of states and international relations (IR) evolved within the concept of sovereignty. The states have naturally emerged as they turned out to be capable of solving various problems faced by different groups of people within different societies. It has also turned out to be one of the best forms to organize a society. It is the concept of sovereignty that has sustained the existence of states through our history.
The essentially unchallenged sovereignty has become part of international relations and natural state of affairs. Therefore, we first should deem sovereignty of states as a pillar of the whole international architecture. “The conventional meaning of a State that is sovereign is that it is: (1) a territorially organized body politic, (2) which has indications of a person or institution, (3) vested with supreme control and authority for that entity” (Shaw, 2003, p.178).
It is important to note in this regard that State’s sovereignty implies legal impermeability and independence in relation to foreign powers and other states on the one hand and the State’s exclusive supremacy and jurisdiction over its territory and inhabitants on the other (Miyoshi, n.d., p.2).
It took states centuries to proclaim the principle of their equality (no matter whether a state is large or tiny, developed or developing). This equality has been sustained by sovereignty. Thus, “sovereignty is eminently rational, if not dialectical, since the sovereignty of a state depends not only on the autonomous will of its sovereign, but also on its standing vis-a-vis other sovereign states” (Benoist, n.d., p.100).
It is argued that states and geopolitics remain the principal agents and forces shaping world order today (Gilpin, 2001, p.261).
However, international law has also developed through intense co-operation among sovereign States especially recently. States have become more interdependent, their ties have become more various and comprehensive, the level of their integration has increased. These issues have affected the concept of sovereignty and have probably even weakened it little by little.
In fact, it is a trend of newest IR – active and comprehensive cooperation of states which results in to the graduate weakening or in other words restraining “absolute sovereignty” of States (Boerefijn and Goldschmidt, 2000, p.109). Nowadays, it is even true to say that “the concept of sovereignty, once relatively uncontested, has recently become a major bone of contention within international law and international relations theory” (Bartelson, 2006, p.463).
The major challenge for sovereignty of states today is globalization. The natural question arises what globalization is. The notion is rather complicated and deserves careful consideration, given its influence on the concept of sovereignty. It is interesting to note that the term itself is a brand new in comparison to the term ‘sovereignty’.
It is possible to view globalization as “simply the widening, deepening, and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness” (Baylis, 2011, p.16). At the same time it is argued that modern “analyses of globalization tend to remain conceptually inexact, empirically thin, historically and culturally illiterate, normatively shallow and politically naïve. Although globalization is widely assumed to be crucially important, we generally have scant idea what, more precisely, it entails” (Scholte, 2000, p.3).
Nevertheless, the key feature of globalization in any sphere is interconnectedness and as far as states and relations between them are concerned we can identify political, social and economic interconnection. Indeed, cross-border trade, movement of goods and services, capital movements have resulted into ‘merging’ of states’ economies, thus enhancing the creation and merging of global market economy.
As far as political globalization is concerned we may note the evolving and expanding of global governance. Even if there is no “world government to officially strip state sovereignty of its prevention of external intervention, global governance in effect does that job” (Hardt and Negri, 2001, p.xii). Why not see the Security Council (SC) of the United Nations as a proto global government? It is up to the SC to decide on the most important and burning issues of IR: whether there is an aggression of one state against another, how to deal with the problem of terrorism etc.
Thus, peculiarity of modern IR can be characterized by a number of international organizations which is a new but none the less influential international actors. International organizations are called to govern most important spheres of: trade, environment, natural resources, security (note the abovementioned example of the SC) etc. While creating an international organization in any sphere states decide on its jurisdiction. This kind of cooperation indeed depends on a degree of mutual “concession among the members of an international organisation, be it the United Nations Organisation, the European Union” (Miyoshi, n.d., p.4).
At the same time states grant to international organization certain rights which allow them to act and take decisions. In some cases, states even give up their own sovereignty to allow an organization to decide a range of issues for them. A well-known example is the European Union, a sui generis organization, which unites most influential European states. This is why the issue if international responsibility of international organizations is discussed with no less interest and tense than the issues of international responsibility of states.
Ilgen “explores the tension between the universal acceptance of the sovereign state as the primary form of political organization and the gradual emergence of a global market economy. Thus, while the history of sovereignty culminates in its concentration in the nation-state, it is challenged by the market economy and its natural tendency to expand beyond the politically defined boundaries of states” (Ilgen, 2003, p.112).
Moreover, states may not decide a lot of the then inner or domestic disputes “behind closed doors” under the new reality. Due to rapid evolving and wide spread of necessity to observe human rights states’ influence on their people has decreased. The prevention of abuses by states in the sphere of human rights and environmental protection are a key goal of functioning of specific international governmental and intergovernmental organizations or so called ‘watch dogs’.
Therefore, it is true to say the “globalization has produced a fundamental shift in the nature of international law as the “new international law” purports to create universal, binding obligations regulating a nation-state’s treatment of its own citizens (Ku and Yoo, 2013, p.213). “Some scholars have even suggested that this new form of law should receive a new name: “cosmopolitan law” or “world law” (Ku and Yoo, 2013, p.213)
“This awareness has good reason in that human rights or the environment can easily be victimized under an authoritarian administration of a State which places primary importance on economic development, giving priority to the expansion of the scale of economy or burning massive fossil fuels for industrial operations thus polluting the air, rivers and coastal sea waters” (Miyoshi, n.d., p.4). In this sense the effect of globalization on state’s sovereignty may be assessed as ‘negative’ or in other words undermining by means of external impacts and tendencies.
Consequently, crucial features of state sovereignty have been weakened, such as its ability to make and enforce laws, the power to define and defend territorial borders, as well as the capacity to shape and direct economic performance.
In this regard we should dwell on an alternative view on sovereignty – a theory of “popular sovereignty”, expressed by the U.S. Constitution, which is largely influenced by undisputed economic integration and shared global governance (Ku and Yoo, 2013, p.232). In a nutshell, popular sovereignty means that “neither the federal nor the state governments can eliminate or alter the other; they reinforce each other in a structure that presupposes its perpetuity. Dual popular sovereignty is the essence of federalism, and it has broad implications for the fundamental distribution of power between the federal government and the states” (Kilberg, 2014, p.1064).
It is worth mentioning, that sovereignty “is still very attractive to weaker states, whose domestic structures have been influenced by outside actors, and whose leaders have very little control over trans-border movements or even activities within their own country” (Oji, E., Ozioko, n.d., p.1). Thus, economically weaker states are interested in pushing through the concept of sovereignty i.e. their independence to the fullest to survive globalization processes. It is advisable to bring an example of climate talks and the process of adopting a new global deal on climate change instead of the Kyoto Protocol. The negotiations are rather tense as less developed states want their rights and interests to be taken into consideration, first of all, the right to development, while more developed states care more to preserve the planet for the future generations and are ready for more concessions.
Thus, the concept of sovereignty in today’s reality goes hand in hand with the concept of globalization. The states are naturally linking in trying to solve challenging issues, find more fruitful ways for cooperation and benefit their people. Surely, there is a price to pay: their actions are not completely independent as the global community watches states closely and may influence the behavior of a certain state. IR relations should be associated with the growing influence of globalization on international arena and note fading concept of sovereignty of states.
Bartelson, J., 2006. The Concept of Sovereignty Revisited. The European Journal of International Law [online] Available at <http://ejil.org/pdfs/17/2/83.pdf> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
Baylis, J., Smith, S. and Owens, P., 2011. The Globalization of World Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Benoist A. de, n.d. What Is Sovereignty? S.l., [online] Available at <http://files.alaindebenoist.com/alaindebenoist/pdf/what_is_sovereignty.pdf> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
Boerefijn I., Goldschmidt, J., 2008. Changing Perceptions of Sovereignty and Human Rights: Essays in Honour of Cees Flinerman. Mortsel, Belgium: Intersentia.
Gilpin, R., 2001. Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hardt, M., Negri, A., 2001. Empire. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press.
Higgins, R., 1999. International Law in a Changing International System. Cambridge Law Journal, 78.
Ilgen, T. L., 2003. Reconfigured Sovereignty. Multi-Layered Governance in the Global Age. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Kilberg, A., 2014. We The People: The Original Meaning Of Popular Sovereignty, Kilberg Book, [online] Available at < http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/Kilberg_Book.pdf> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
Ku, J., Yoo, J., 2013. Globalization and Sovereignty. Berkley Journal of International Law, [online] Available at <http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1437&context=bjil> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
Miyoshi, M., n.d. Sovereignty and International Law. S.l., [online] Available at <https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/ibru/conferences/sos/masahiro_miyoshi_paper.pdf> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
Oji, E., Ozioko, M.V.C ., n.d. Effect Of Globalization On Sovereignty Of States, [online] Available at < http://www.ajol.info/index.php/naujilj/article/download/82410/72564> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
Scholte, J. A., 2000. Globalisation: A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Shaw, M. N., 2003. International Law. Cambridge University Press, 178.
UNRISD Conference on Globalization and Citizenship, 1996. On Globalization [online] Available at <www.unrisd.org> [Accessed 06 March 2015].
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