Question: Should global democracy be a prerequisite for economic globalization?
Shashi Tharoor: I’m not sure what the question means by “global democracy”. Because if it means global institutions should be run democratically, well we don’t have global democracy. In the U.N. for example, five countries have a veto. In the World Bank or the IMF, the U.S. has a preponderant voice. Global institutions are run in varying degrees of equality, and we don’t have global democracy in the sense of one man-one vote, or one person-one vote across the planet; which would give Chinese and Indians a heck of an advantage, but we don’t have that. So I don’t think that it can be a pre . . . prerequisite. I think economic realities are, to some degree, independent of the political connections that give you democracy. We have a sort of economic democracy because you can move money across the world with the press of a button. And . . . and . . . and that’s something which has actually affected human beings’ lives in many parts of the world. But we don’t have global democracy. I don’t think we’re likely to have global democracy in the political sense; but I think economic transformations will go on anyway. And it’s going to be a very interesting few decades ahead. And we hope to be able to see . . . to see how the institutions of the globe adjust to and take account of the economic transformations that we can all see happening.
Recorded on: 9/18/07