Justice: Global and European
Global Society, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 591-609, 2000
20 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2011
Date Written: 2000
The first section of this draft paper lays out some aspects of liberal contractualism. Section 2 points to some relevant differences in the subject matters of international and European political order. Section 3 indicates that the research questions are interestingly different for the two subjects. At least three central topics must be addressed by a normative theory of federalism when brought to bear on the issues of europeanisation. 1) Democratic theory must be rethought, and the concepts developed for nation-state parameters must be reconfigured. 2) Distributive justice must consider the normative significance of non-unitary modes of governance. Claims to equal shares may have to be tempered by an account of when sub-units must take responsibility for their worst-off, rather than expecting other individuals in the political order as a whole to do so. 3) A third important topic concerns the allocation of authority between the central level and sub-units. In the context of the European Union, the principle of subsidiarity has been introduced to resolve these issues, first in the Maastricht Treaty and most recently elaborated in the Amsterdam Treaty. The principle of subsidiarity places the burden of proof on those who seeks to centralise authorities. However, the principle is contested, can be interpreted in conflicting ways, and can apply in a variety of fields. It merits more attention by political philosophers.
Keywords: liberal contractualism, justice, Europe, democracy, political theory
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