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Governing Globalization and the Role of the World Trade Organization

Lucio Levi
February 2017

The globalisation process has eroded state sovereignty, producing a contradiction between market and civil society dynamics (that tend to become global) and resistance from nation-states (that remain national). In other words, markets have gained the upper hand over politics. Two opposing projects are confronting with each other in the challenge to govern globalisation: the federalist, which advocates the globalisation of political power and democracy, and the nationalist that pursues the return to the nation-states.

The World Trade Organization (WTO), established in 1995 to liberalise world trade, should be made compatible and consistent with the principles of equitable and sustainable development, addressing issues such as labour rights, consumer, health and environmental protection, tax evasion and elusion. Constitutionalising and democratising the WTO is the way to transform this organisation into the building block of a new global architecture. The judiciary body, established to solve trade disputes, is the first step in a process leading to the introduction of global taxes to finance global public goods and towards creating an Economic Security Council and a Parliamentary Assembly.
The EU is an institution that governs an international economy and can act as a model and engine of the WTO’s reform in the direction of constitutionalising international relations and international democracy.

Keywords: Globalisation, World Trade Organization, Global Governance, EU, Parliamentary Assembly

Lucio Levi was Professor of Political Science and Comparative Politics at the Turin University, and President of the European Federalist Movement (from April 2009 to March 2015). 

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