How to Escape from a Joint-Decision Trap?

Let’s suppose that a state decides to have an individual under its total control or to sell this individual to a third party.

Let’s also suppose that in order to get rid of this person, a ministry of interior puts in place an apparatus that aims at delegitimizing the individual, through the spread of false rumors, various allegations, change in job, in economic independence, etc..

Let’s finally suppose that in order to achieve its objectives, the state decides to create a ‘joint-decision trap’, forcing each single state that wishes to accept the ‘unwanted individual’ in its own territory to play according to the same, mostly unacceptable, rules of the game (such as that the individual must change name, cannot teach at a university, has to beg for a flight ticket, for a job, must marry one person and not another, etc.).

How can this ‘unwanted individual’ escape from this ‘joint decision trap’?

For those not familiar with the terminology of EU institutions (but well-known to people who work, have worked in the EU or are used to teach EU studies), the ‘joint decision trap’ is a termed coined by Fritz Scharpf to describe a ‘compulsory negotiation system’. In the words of the author:

‘on issues of institutional reform, member governments represent not only the interests of their constituents but also their own institutional self-interest which, in the present context, can be interpreted as a concern for autonomy and influence. If problems within their territories can no longer be resolved through autonomous policy choices, these governments may reluctantly delegate competencies to higher-level institutions. But they will nevertheless try to maintain as much influence as possible over the exercise of these competencies. In order to prevent decisions violating their own preferences, they will insist on unanimity or qualified majority voting even though the outcomes are likely to be inefficient from a problem-solving perspective’ (Scharpf 2006, p 849; see full article here).

As a result of this institutional mechanism of coercive negotiation, the ‘unwanted individual’ remains blocked in a joint-decision trap established with the aim of voluntarily ensuring status quo and immobility. Maybe, this is what is happening to me.

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