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Federalism

A Political Theory for Our Time

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Edited By Lucio Levi, Giampiero Bordino and Antonio Mosconi

This volume is a collection of essays published between 1999 and 2015 in the review The Federalist Debate. The book highlights the issue of federalism intended as a theoretical paradigm to interpret the major problems of our age, and in particular the issues of peace and war in a world characterized by an uncontrolled globalization.

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European Democracy is Valuable Too, not Just the Monetary Union

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Amartya SEN

When in 1941 Altiero Spinelli, along with Eugenio Colorni and Ernesto Rossi, signed the famous Ventotene Manifesto, they were fighting “for a free and united Europe”. The Milan declaration that followed in 1943, establishing the European Federalist Movement, reaffirmed the commitment to a united democratic Europe. This was a natural extension of Europe’s quest for democracy led by the European Enlightenment, which in turn inspired the whole world. It is, therefore, particularly distressing that the danger to democratic governance in Europe today, coming through the back door of financial priority, is not receiving anything like the concern that it should generate. The tradition of democratic public discussion is being undermined by the unregulated power of rating agencies to command, in effect, what democratic governments should do, often supported by further commands by international financial institutions.

Two distinct issues need to be separated out. The first concerns what Walter Bagehot and John Stuart Mill saw as the need for “government by discussion”. If the financial guardians have a realistic understanding of what needs to be done, their voices should get serious attention in democratic public dialogue. But this is not the same thing as allowing them the ultimate effective power to command democratically elected governments, without any general resistance from democratic Europe. The power of rating agencies can be restrained and moderated only by the power of coordinated political voices in Europe, which is missing.

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