Are nation states becoming less important?

Here’s a question for both the history buffs and the futurists: Are nation states becoming less important? Are we evolving towards larger, regional or continental “states”? Or will the nation-state continue on, unchallenged in its current form?

We’re currently in transition to a world where large, multi-national alliances are becoming more important. Primarily economic (NAFTA, G8/7, EEC, etc.), with a few anachronistic military alliances left over from the Cold War (such as NATO, and the oh-so-toothless UN.) A large, homogenous country such as China can afford to remain fairly isolated, but smaller nation-states are rapidly reaching the point where they must choose a side or have the side chosen for them – just look at what’s happening in Ukraine/Crimea, who vowed to remain independent but instead were invaded by opposing forces, in a bloodless diplomatic war fought with angry soundbites and billions of dollars in foreign aid packages, instead of soldiers.

And the other big trend is that nations have partly given up on regulating economic activity. Through various trade treaties (GATT/WTO, NAFTA, TPP, etc.) countries have been giving up their ability to favor local companies over foreign ones, etc.

Now a company that was founded in Country X can easily move its operations (or just its taxable profits) over to Country Y if its fiscal policies or subsidies are more appealing, and there’s very little country X can do about it. If too many companies leave, the country’s cost of borrowing will increase, etc.

The net result is that nation-states have less leeway when it comes to their economic and fiscal policies than they did 40 years ago.

Ask the Crimeans.





Oh, someone stop me laughin’, before I do meself an injury!