It is not viable to argue that capitalist globalization is an anti-democratic force because true democracy, “understood to prevail when the members of a polity determine collectively, equally and without arbitrarily imposed constraints”, is a rare element around the globe, while what is portrayed and accepted as democracy is actually parliamentary, or representative, democracy and is a mechanical component of capitalism because it is the most easily manipulated form of government in existence (Scholte, 262). While true democracy is “participatory, consultative, transparent and publicly accountable”, representative democracy is a form of governance in which capital influence places voting representatives and influences policy votes (Scholte. 262). Since the most industrialized, capital heavy states are not true democracies, the international organizations which weave the structure of capitalist globalization in “agencies such as the EU, MERCOSUR, the IMF and the UN” are equivalently open to the manipulation of capital and political influence and bribery. No other so-called democratic international organization is more notable for this type of elitist democracy than the United Nations, which allows the permanent members of the Security Council to cast vetoes above all other members. How many times has the U.S. cast their veto to defend human rights violations committed by Israel against the Palestinians? There is certainly little democracy in the capital-heavy “Bretton Woods institutions” where “quota-based weightings have given one quarter of the member-states control of three-quarters of the votes” (Scholte, 269). The World Bank issues so-called developing states ‘conditional loans’ to encourage foreign private sector exploitation of natural resources while the “IMF has developed considerable links with business groups” (Scholte, 270).
As true democracy would be detrimental to internal state capitalism and the representative democracy steered by capital, “a future electronic democracy” where each citizen has a vote on legislation and policy within the most politically powerful states will never be voluntarily implemented unless the methods of that democracy are “in private hands and highly concentrated ownership” (Scholte, 276). As true democracy has never existed within the most powerful of capitalist states, and these states hold the greatest economic, technological and military power within the international organizations that solidify globalization and embrace international representative democracy, the result will continue to be international inequality guised as smiley-faced democracy.
Scholte, Jan. 2000. Globalization: a Critical Introduction. London, England: MacMillan.