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Global Democratic Corporatism: a Feasible System for Sustainable Earth Governance?

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 17:57 authored by Frederick GaleFrederick Gale
Building on the case of the Forest Stewardship Council, this article mounts a normative case for ‘Global Democratic Corporatism’ (GDC), a tripartite system of governance bringing together elected representatives from economic, social and environmental sectors—and from the North and South—to negotiate high-quality compromise outcomes. It argues that GDC is currently best operationalised in the structures of the Forest Stewardship Council, a global membership organisation that increasingly governs the forest sector utilising voluntary certification and labelling. In the FSC, individuals and organisations join one of six sub-chambers depending on whether they represent economic, social or environmental interests in the North or the South. Several studies have commented favourably on the strength, equity and quality of this governance form. This paper investigates the desirability and feasibility of scaling GDC up to the global level and embedding its architecture within national and global organisations. Building on a critical evaluation of the deficiencies of territorial representation via liberal democracy and intergovernmental organisations, the study examines current proposals for an Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, especially those emerging from RIO+20, and compares and contrasts these with GDC to assess strengths, weaknesses and feasibility.


Publication title

Earth Systems Governance Conference


School of Social Sciences

Event title

Earth Systems Governance Conference

Event Venue

Tokyo, Japan

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified

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