Presentation on theme: "Cohen Chapter 2 Sovereignty. The purpose is to review the origins and meanings of the political concepts and institutions central to the debates over."— Presentation transcript:
Cohen Chapter 2 Sovereignty
The purpose is to review the origins and meanings of the political concepts and institutions central to the debates over globalization. (p. 33) Sovereign State: A complex set of relationships between political power, authority, territory, representation, and responsibility
Defining Sovereignty We must distinguish between political authority, and political capacity. The sovereign state replaced feudal relations of overlapping authority present in Europe. Sovereignty became tied to the absolute state. One ultimate authority took control over a defined territory and people. The state gained final authority over what and who moved in and out of its territory.
This rested on mutual recognition by sovereign states of one another. Sovereignty is inherently tied to this international system of diplomatic recognition. The system of sovereign states began in Europe, then spread to North America and finally to the entire world. Almost all the world today is governed by sovereign states. Authority belongs equally to all sovereign states. Their mutual recognition entails acknowledging the legal right of others to rule. Authority gives the state the right to choose its purposes.
The state decides its purposes and how to pursue them. Purposes change. Thus, the relevant powers of the state change. Example: States sometimes try to control religious beliefs and practices. This requires a certain set of powers. As the state’s purposes change to other purposes and it no longer concerns itself with religious beliefs, it will need a different set of powers and capacities. But the loss of power to control religious belief does not mean a loss of sovereignty. The state has decided not to do one thing and to do another. Sovereignty relates to its capacity to make that choice.
Likewise, a laissez-faire state sees its role as promoting a competitive market. It needs a set of powers that a state that chooses to manage the economy would not. Thus, Cohen asserts, globalization in many cases shows up in changes of policy, not lost sovereignty. The debate over globalization is about the state’s choice of purposes. But this gets confused with a debate over state sovereignty, that is, legal authority to rule.
Power or capacity does vary. States can choose to manage the economy only to find that for various reasons they are not able to do so. Another part of the debate is about the state’s capacity to carry out its goals. The way in which sovereignty is understood is determined internationally. Sovereignty does not arise from the state itself. It is an attribute of states in an international system.
Borders and Boundaries Until globalization advanced so far, the territorial border of the state coincided with the authority of the state. Cohen argues that globalization has uncoupled state boundaries (the limits of the political community) from the territory. United States in particular claims sovereign authority over activities outside the US borders: Drug Trade Drug Trade War Crimes War Crimes Human Rights Human Rights Environmental issues Environmental issues
Cohen p. 40: Period of intense change in the state’s [political] environment usually coincide with transformations in the boundaries, purposes, and policy choices that determine how it exercises sovereignty. We are experience exactly such a period now. Globalization is also changing the international context and thus the state is changing its definition of its boundaries and purposes. This is at the heart of the globalization debate: What should state purposes be?
For instance, should it: Regulate capitalism? Provide a legal framework for the unfettered free market? Block foreign goods from entering the country and build up domestic businesses? Facilitate the entry and assimilation of immigrants? Block outsiders from entering the country? Choosing one over the other is not necessarily a loss of sovereignty.
What should the state’s boundaries be? Only within the US borders? All parts of the world that affect US interests? Anywhere the US can make a difference for the good? To what extent should the US share authority? Coordinate and cooperate with other countries to manage economic activity? Regulate for labor, environment, safety? Go it alone?