Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2017

Center/Program

Center for Law and Philosophy

Abstract

Advances in the legalisation of international relations, and the growing number of international organisations raise the question whether state sovereignty had its day. The paper defines sovereignty in a way that allows for degrees of sovereignty. Its analysis assumes that while sovereignty has become more limited, a trend which may continue, there is no sign that it is likely to disappear. The paper offers thoughts towards a normative analysis of these developments and the prospects they offer. Advocates of progress towards world government, while wise to many of current defects, are blind to the evils that a world government will breed, and to the advantages of relatively sovereign political societies. The paper identifies the advantages of the legalisation of international relations, and the growth of international bodies. The dilemma of internationalisation is that its advantages can be obtained only if international organs acquire some of the characteristics of successful sovereign political societies, in attracting the loyalty and shaping the sense of identity of their members – a faraway prospect. The best we can hope for is a mix international regime of relatively sovereign states subject to extensive regulation by international organisations and laws. That requires a pluralistic jurisprudence of international organisations, allowing for great local diversity, of which we have so far seen only small beginnings.

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