Subsidiarity and the Global Order
Subsidiarity in Comparative Perspective, eds. Augusto Zimmerman and Michelle Evans, 2014, 207-220
15 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2013 Last revised: 19 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2013
Subsidiarity has been proposed as an answer to the challenges of globalization and global governance. This chapter addresses some of the strengths and weaknesses of such a principle of subsidiarity for questions of how to allocate and use authority at regional and global levels. The chapter criticizes the 'state centric' versions of subsidiarity often appealed to for such global settings. In particular, there are several challenges wrought by states that fail to respect their citizens' human rights, variously interpreted. More defensible versions of subsidiarity do not provide normative legitimacy to the state centric aspects of the global order. Section 1 sketches some of the remarkably different conceptions of subsidiarity as a background to the usages in the European Union, the Catholic Church and as it allegedly appears in international law. The different versions drastically reduce or enlarge the scope of member unit authority.
Section 2 considers some implications for the legitimate allocation of authority in our global order which includes many states that routinely violate their citizens’ fundamental human rights. The function of the European Court of Human Rights offers a helpful contrast.
Keywords: Althusius, Catholicism, Liberal Contractualism, sovereignty, European Court of Human Rights, global governance, international law
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