Compelling visions of how political institutions can be effective and democratic in handling globalization problems is one of our most important predicaments. Political institutions always were deficient in that they were hardly fully effective and democratic. During the prime of liberal democracies, their problem-solving capacity was limited, and the process of making decisions approached democratic ideals at best. Yet the current predicament goes deeper. We lack a compelling vision of ideal political institutions for handling global problems such as climate change. In order to develop this argument, first two criteria for a compelling vision of ideal political institutions are identified. In a second step it is argued that the two currently most crucial institutional visions do not provide convincing accounts for fulfilling these criteria. The paper concludes by suggesting that these weaknesses of both sides of the debate contribute to polarization, thus making the predicament worse.

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