Slaughter in Oz

I read an article of Slaughter’s over at project syndicate and felt it needed a reply. She is once again speaking of the “disaggregated” state. Here is the copy of that reply.

Thank you for a thoughtful article.

On the basis of this article alone the more parsimonious observation is that what we are seeing is an increasing level of activity and complexity within bureaucracy … and an attendant increase in international bureaucratic cooperation.

But the key question is how much authority is actually being delegated? Is there an increase in the authority delegated or simply an increase in the inherent complexity of the decisions to be made? If the latter then Slaughter is reporting on what is truly a non-event in terms of multilateralism and global governance.

I think Slaughter is confusing the reader with one thing for the other. It is not an increase in delegated authority but merely an increase in the complexity and frequency of decisions to be made. What concerns me, however, is that Slaughter is pointing out the possibility of a dangerous trend: could it be the case that greater authority is being inadvertently delegated due to the complexity of the thing delegated? I suspect this is the more likely scenario. My previous points implicitly assumed that delegation was deliberate.

But where is all this new complexity coming from? I would submit that it is basically what Slaughter has posited elsewhere; from greater international intercourse in virtually all human affairs, including economics. But that is only half of the answer. This increased complexity exists with increased intercourse only because there exists legal barriers which impede, slow, frustrate or otherwise complicate the intercourse.

But this is a direct consequence of the existence of sovereign national governments whose laws, practices and procedures are all inconsistent; a hodgepodge of jurisdictions creating a hodgepodge of red tape. Ironically, Slaughter simply argues in favor of global rule of law codified explicitly, not in the implicit manner she advocates through bureaucracy, in a constitution that is ratified by all signing nations; which serves to greatly simplify the decision-making context supra.

Suggesting that these means and methods Slaughter extols should be substituted for genuine global rule of law is one of the most dangerous ideas of the modern era; and will with axiomatic certainty lead to a disappearance of any accountability whatsoever and ultimate corruption to a global, institutional failure point.

The only realistic and honest solution is codified global rule of law; such as that offered by General Federalism.

– kk


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