Subsidiarity itself can be seen as just one of a range of approaches that stress selectivity in terms of pursuing initiatives that require cross-border coordination. Consider some examples from the trade agreement arena.
Pascal Lamy, the former head of the World Trade Organization, once told me that one-third of bilateral trade pacts never actually get invoked — literally aren’t worth the paper they are written on. If such duds could be identified earlier, policy makers could be more selective about which trade agreements to pursue. Even sequencing can be seen in terms of selectivity: It is basically about not doing everything of interest all at once.
Fifteen years ago, British economist John Kay wrote, “Few components of globalization are inevitable if there is a genuine popular will to stop them. But mostly there is not.” That last bit is what has changed in the last few years.