Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Habermas and Scharpf on Transnational Democracy in Europe

"Leviathan: Berliner Zeitschrift für Sozialwissenschaft" (vol. 43, no. 2, 2015) contains a new text by Jürgen Habermas:

Der Demos der Demokratie – eine Replik

"Fritz Scharpf assumes that national economic cultures and lifestyles within the European Monetary Union are too heterogeneous to allow a common democratic legislation on the basis of informal generalizable interests. Even if this were feasible, a democratically constituted Euro-Union is not even desirable. This variant of the well-known no-demos thesis relies implicitly on a political theory that the acceptance of democratic majority decisions is always dependent on an intact socially-inclusive implicite consensus of the citizens. The criticism is directed against both the philosophical presuppositions of this theory as well as against the application of the principle of the indisputable legal protection of cultural identities of unique national economic cultures. The common elements in a civil society which define its identity change not only as part of social evolution processes, they are formed by democratic involvement in civil societal processes of self-understanding. An expansion of the monetary union to a political union could stop the undemocratic connection of apparent nation-state sovereignty with the actually enforced technocratic compliance to market imperatives „without alternatives“. A return to national currencies, on the other hand, would mean resigning the progressingly political self-emasculation of policy to the globalized financial markets."

Habermas's comments are a response to Fritz Scharpf's "Das Dilemma der supranationalen Demokratie in Europa" (Leviathan vol. 43 no. 1, 2015), where Scharpf criticized Habermas's article ”Warum der Ausbau der Europäischen Union zu einer supranationalen Demokratie nötig und wie er möglich ist” (Leviathan vol. 42 no. 4, 2014). [An English translation of Habermas's article is available here.] 

Scharpf is responding to Habermas's comments in the same issue of Leviathan: "Deliberative Demokratie in der europäischen Mehrebenenpolitik – eine zweite Replik".

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