necessary between actors with different institutional interests. When these systems are successful, abuses are prevented and there is no need for exposure and sanctions. Yet even highly institutionalized systems of checks and balances are not successful all of the time. Lacking institutionalized checks and balances, the only constraints in world politics are potential coercion (as in the balance of power) and the desire of states and other actors for mutually beneficial agreements. But these constraints are quite weak in restraining strong states; they are not institutionalized in generally applicable rules; and they hardly address the problems of abuse of power by non-state actors. Accountability mechanisms of various kinds – whether strictly democratic or not – are threfore also required if abuses of power are to be limited in non-arbitrary ways that can be defended on ethical as well as practical grounds.
The second crucial problem with the analogy is that many power-wielders in world politics acquired their power without delegation. Only international organizations had their authority explicitly conferred on them – in this case by states. States, sub-units of states, multinational firms and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were all created without having been authorized to act by any set of entities even remotely representative of the world population as a whole. Thinking of accountability strictly in terms of domestic models – in particular, delegation models -- can lead observers to overemphasize the significance of the accountability deficits of international organizations, and to overlook the more serious accountability deficits of other power-wielders, such as states, multinational firms, and NGOs.
The third problem with the domestic analogy is that participation models of accountability suffer, when applied to world politics, from the absence of a coherent,