Nation states are the only thing that can protect us from the powerful.
Eliminating nation states would be like having one lawyer arguing both sides of a criminal case. We need nation states to advocate for their citizens and we need nation states working against each other and competing to ensure the best outcome for everyone.
Support your nation state that supports you. In a world without nation states, when the government turns against you, you'll have nowhere left to go.
> The Nation State is too large a unit for good experiments. Take education as an example. Having a national policy makes little sense at a time when technology is fundamentally changing how learning can occur.
So just run those experiments at a smaller scale than the federal government. Nice to see everyone finally catching onto the idea of States' Rights.
> Information technology allows new approaches to regulation through transparency. In many instances what the federal level role should be is provide requirements for transparency of and interoperability between local/regional policies. This means we could have a significantly smaller Federal Government in terms of the number of direct employees, size of agencies and body of regulations.
Again, this has nothing to do with the existence of nation states.
I see your point, and I get that there's a common-defense argument for the existence of nations. But realistically, if anyone not an American finds themself opposed to the U.S's interests, their national government isn't going to be of much help to them. Realistically, the invisible hand that prevents the U.S. from bullying the whole rest of the world (even moreso than they do) is that the U.S. as a nation has fairly little interest in being the boss of 7 million people, and oftentimes struggles with being the boss of 300 million people, and the popular outcry over wars abroad tends to stop them within 8 years or so after they get started. It has nothing to do with other nations being an effective check on U.S. power.
The example proves you wrong. Without another gov't protecting him, Assange would absolutely be in a US jail right now, or dead. I didn't say that the Ecuadorian military kept him safe. It is the nation states playing against each other that has kept him safe. Whether that play is social or economic or militaristic is just a minor footnote.
> He might as well be holed up in a private citizen's condo in California, if he could find a private citizen who was willing to take him.
Not an acceptable alternative. Gov't would find him. Very unlikely he would make it out of the airport. You have to have the power of the nation state to play against the other nation state. Ecuador provides that in this case. It doesn't always work (US rolls over nations in middle east all the time), but it does work most of the time most of the people (for some definition of "most of the people" which would be people who live in nations that play the nation state game).
The bigger question is "Is there some person or organization who would cause harm to Assange that he would not be able to protect himself against?" I don't know the answer to that. Go back to the Middle Ages and the answer would be that Assange would pledge his loyalty to one particular lord, who he agreed not to spill the beans on, and he would get protection from them in return. With city-states (popular in antiquity, and perhaps rising again), he would reside in a city, and (assuming he wasn't exiled), that city would provide for his defense and refuse to extradite him, and all the other cities can go to hell.
The complexity today is that we have this whole other level of trans-national organizations: multinational corporations, NGOs, philanthropic foundations, Internet communities, hacker collectives, etc. Many of the "attacks" on these organizations can't be stopped by a national border; for example, Assange can continue releasing damaging information against the U.S. from within the Ecuadorian embassy, and he has done nothing to physically violate U.S. territory, and yet this doesn't matter because our lives are half lived in cyberspace anyway. The nation-state arose as a protective force to ensure that violence occurred only within well-defined wars at the edges of their territories, and citizens could basically count on peace when not at war. It basically succeeded at that, but it succeeded so well that the "battlegrounds" now have nothing to do with physical location and often little to do with physical force.
> The nation-state arose as a protective force to ensure that violence occurred only within well-defined wars at the edges of their territories, and citizens could basically count on peace when not at war. It basically succeeded at that, but it succeeded so well that the "battlegrounds" now have nothing to do with physical location and often little to do with physical force.
This is an interesting idea, so suppose the nation state is eliminated. Wouldn't there just be a new equivalent of the nation state that arises that is based not around physical borders but around digital borders in some way? People are always going to disagree about fundamental ideas, and they're going to band together to protect their ability to live according to those ideas. Which brings us back to the article's point #1: "Nation states, true to their name, tend to emphasize the interests of a particular nation above others.". We'll just end up with that again but instead of the US sanctioning Russia, we're going to have 4chan, reddit, and instagram launching DDoS attacks against each others' users.
I don't think that's what the article is suggesting, though. Rather, it's suggesting that we re-draw the boundaries of how we organize that power, with one level globally and another locally (probably at the city or territory level).
I'd assume (based on similar writings) that this would work with a federated world government with very limited and specifically-enumerated powers. Basically, we accept certain principles as foundational (rule of law, property rights, non-violence, consent of the governed), and then transfer the monopoly on physical force to a world government whose only task is ensuring that individuals don't violate that. The world government would have very limited powers: aside from preserving peace, it'd basically just define the rules around trade disputes and redress of grievances, and delegate the arbitration of these disputes to a mutually-acceptable arbiter. Possibly it might also serve as a market-maker for externalities (eg. selling carbon credits) and coordinator for shared efforts (eg. fighting infectious disease, or interstellar space travel). It would also ensure freedom to move between municipalities as long as you accept the laws of the local municipality, i.e. borders cannot keep people in or out, but they do define the extent of how you must behave within the municipality.
All other powers would go toward local municipalities. This includes a great deal of things currently reserved for a nation-state: drug laws, the place of religion, official languages, national holidays, traffic management, growth policies, possibly even things like free speech. So if San Franciscans want to smoke out, Emirates want to mandate the wearing of the hijab, Texans want complete freedom to carry a gun, Virginians want a holiday honoring Robert E. Lee, they all get that - within their own city. They just don't get to force other people to take on their customs. If Californians are upset by how everybody in Texas is packing heat, or Texans are upset by how Muslims wear a head scarf, or Muslims are upset by how San Franciscans smoke out all the time - too bad, they can define how people should behave in their own city, but they don't get to define how everybody else behaves. And the role of the world government is to ensure that, and put down any attempt at imposing your views on others by force.
Taking your example of Virginians wanting a holiday for Robert E Lee, small countries and big countries could easily do this. You say limit it to a city so that those who don't want it aren't affected. But even passing it at the city level leaves people who don't want it. I see no difference between 60% of a country the size of Malta supporting something and 60% of a city the size of Anchorage.
That's naive. Nations or no nations, in the resulting mega-empire, the US powerful (which are in the top 0.01% of the world) and its special interests, will still dominate most of the goings on. If they're joined by EUs 0.01% even better, and even less chances for Assange. Heck, they already do all that through their allies (NATO, political lackeys etc), that wont stop because "nation states have now disbanded").
Are you talking about Hilary Clinton? I wouldn't trust the sources on that. Additionally, it's just plain ridiculous. A Predator drone dropping 100lb bombs on an embassy in London? A PR outcry of an assassination would be the least of the repercussions that this would incur.
My point is that it's not actually Ecuador or the UK who keeps him alive, it's that the U.S. would be dropping a bomb on a private citizen in the midst of a city.
Don’t they already do that?
It would be truly unprecedented to bomb the capital of our closest ally, an act which is undoubtedly an act of war, in order to assassinate a US citizen accused of crimes.
There's no comparison whatsoever between this hypothetical act and airstrikes in an active warzone.
Obviously that wouldn't happen, but there's more discreet ways of killing someone than that. Obama has an enormous amount of people assassinated without trial, including American citizens. It's more than just a thought experiment.
> I wouldn't trust the sources on that
Like I said, I think there's no good source for it. That the highest levels of the US govt considered the idea of assassinating Assange because he is damaging to the image of America is plausible though.
Nation states are not the problem. The use of physical (including military) and economic violence between competing interest blocs is the problem.
Eliminating nation states won't solve the problem of competition.
If it did we would all be a lot better off, because the cost of the perpetual proxy war between the different interest blocs does unbelievable harm to the planet's collective intelligence, and to our economic and scientific potential.
e.g. Your constituents don't like pollution in their river and, playing to your constituents, you pass a law to ban dumping of chemical X, which was previously thought to be harmless but now appears to be not so harmless. Oops! Your government is being sued by foreign corporations impacted by this law, because a treaty you signed gives them that right.
Bottom line, if we're going to continue eroding the power of nation states (and nation states really are doing it to themselves), we'd better be damned sure something representing and protecting the interests of people is there to replace it. Lots of science fiction dystopias feature corporate cleptocracy's as dominant forces, and that's for a very good reason!
Fearless cities, http://fearlesscities.com/ is another one, more centered on Europe on the so-called "crisis" of refugees, opting for an approach putting human rights, rather than fear, in the center of their decisions.
I predict that these federations will take over nation states first on issues that states are simply abandoning: environment and human rights issues. Maybe they will slowly grab part of state-level missions.
This fud that has been spread by the illiterate folk of the internet has caused so much damage. ISDS is for enforcing agreements between states if they feel businesses from their countries are being unfairly discriminated against. Nation states are still perfectly able to leave the free trade agreements if the terms are not satisfactory because they are sovereign. ISDS is the mechanism by which free trade agreements actually ensure there is free trade. Don't join free trade agreements if you want to place tariffs on foreign businesses or enforce regulations selectively against foreign business.
>e.g. Your constituents don't like pollution in their river and, playing to your constituents, you pass a law to ban dumping of chemical X, which was previously thought to be harmless but now appears to be not so harmless. Oops! Your government is being sued by foreign corporations impacted by this law, because a treaty you signed gives them that right.
I love your example because it shows how little you even know about what you are spreading fear of. You clearly feel strongly about this but you were incapable of spending 5 minutes reading wikipedia to inform yourself about what you are writing about?
>governments retain their regulatory ability, if the agreements in question specify that regulations protecting health, the environment, labour rights and human rights are allowed.
e.g. don't sign an agreement if you don't want to follow the provisions of the agreement. Otherwise don't expect other people to follow the stipulation of the agreement either.
Why do you insist on commenting about something you are clearly ignorant about? I am willing to bet $1000 that you have not read a single word of these trade agreements you feel so confident to give lectures on.
Bottom line, people that are ignorant and have no idea what they are talking about should not act as if they do.
In 2011 Australia passed legislation that "requires health warnings to cover at least 75 per cent of the front of most tobacco packaging, 90 per cent of the back of cigarette packaging and 75 per cent of the back of most other tobacco product packaging" .
Philip Morris restructured and moved the headquarters of their Australia and Asia operations to Hong Kong. By doing this they could take advantage of an earlier 1993 trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia, and launched an ISDS claim against the Australian government, claiming that the packaging regulation meant that their branding and trademarks had been confiscated.
Say what you want about "free trade" agreements between states, it is pretty obvious that if these agreements can be potentially exploited as above then one of the outcomes of such agreements is the erosion of the rights of states and their citizens, and in increase in power and freedom to global capital.
It's not about who lost or won, the problem is that there was a hearing at all. Why would there be a need for dispute settlement between companies and states ? There can be no dispute, the state dictates the law and the companies either comply or leave the country.
ISDS is like giving kids the possibility of suing their parents over their bedtime. It implies the kids have some kind of say in the matter when they really don't.
Why even have free trade agreements if you can create laws that will destroy foreign business? ISDS is not so states can be subject to companies, it for states to follow agreements they sign. If the state values muh sovereignty so much they can simply reneg on the agreement and lose the benefit of free trade.
if the business in question is only profitable because it pushes negative externalities onto other parties due to lack of regulation (e.g. tobacco companies, anyone on the supply/demand side of unregulated polluting industries) then it sounds like destroying such business models through regulation is a feature, not a bug.
Countries have their own legal systems for that, there is no need for ISDS.
No one has read "a single word of those trade agreements" because it was all done in secret until it was already signed and there's nothing to do but sign it.
THE AGREEMENT IS PUBLIC
The reason it was negotiated in secret is because governments understand that there are large populations of easily influenced idiots that can be manipulated to be against these agreements even though they benefit the people on net.
Getting past the dominance of your legal rights under laws you can influence...
Getting past your having a representative government where you're more than one six-billionth of the vote...
Getting past your sense of belonging to any kind of a shared culture...
...to that glorious future where you receive the beneficence and wisdom of multinational corporations directing each facet of your lives, untrammelled by that old fashioned notion that you and your compatriots might have concerns about how they operate, and may require them to conform to your expectations, rather than your society conform to theirs...
Sorry, but I think I'll hang on to the idea of having a national parliament full of politicians that we can all bemoan, but that sometimes actually defends our interest.
If you travel a bit, outside of western Europe which experienced WWII, most places --even dirt poor ones, have very nationalistic tendencies.
I don't see the idea catching on in most of the world, unfortunately. And then remember the conspiracy theories behind "the new world order" and "thousand points of light" and how people derided that.
That said, long term, we will have to arrive at some solution which ensures that not one nation (or any other organization of people) have the capacity to inflict destruction on others --the way Guangdong cannot decimate Guangxi or Colorado cannot invade Utah.
Something similar occurred during the Roman Empire. There wasn't any practical way to get out of the empire, and no practical check on the power of the government of the empire.
If the policies of the empire happened to affect you negatively, there really wasn't anything you could do about it. You couldn't pick up an leave. You couldn't affect the government policy. You and your family for generations would just be stuck.
* Solved the logistical problem with the adoption of wide area communications networks, enabling instant communication and more importantly negotiations between independent regions and areas anywhere in the world.
* Solved the military problem with the development of world-wrecking nuclear weapons, whose presence equalizes all involved nations such that it does not matter if you have a giant population and production machine to build every other weapon of war - the danger of just a few dozen advanced nuclear weapons in arsenal deters any reasonable nation from attempting invasion because that many bombs could render the Earth uninhabitable.
Additionally, computers ease the burden of managing international relations between potentially thousands of participating bodies by instituting protcol standards between them and the Internet gives us an environment to broadcast transparently the terms of interaction between nations, and those can be updated in real time in ways a generation ago couldn't consider possible.
Now there is no good motivation to maintain giant nation states. Letting large countries break up into smaller, more focused soverignties handling their own affairs maximizes liberty for the people. And the international economy can be very effective as a tool of global governance - if you and most nations agree on something, and think it is important enough, you can embargo the dissenters to put economic pressure on them to reform. Likewise, for any noble cause, you can accept the burden of economic isolation to prove your point and then campaign to change the minds of citizens in other countries.
If governance were localized like this, you would not run into the apathetic superstate of the modern age where citizens demands are very often ignored. When a legislature only rules a few million people, individual voices are louder, and deposing the corrupt is much more straightforward - even if it requires violence. The larger and more expansive the sovereignty the more detached from any one locality it becomes until it is just detached from everyone operating as this global influence without oversight.
Imagine scenarios where parts of the United States or Mexico broke up. The result is certain warfare and likely military dictatorships.
Depends. You could have used the influence of your powerful family/friends. Unless your family wasn't powerfull ... but in that case you can't do much today either.
Nation states are much better.
It's actually a very inefficient tool for this, and better methods have existed for years.
If you'd leave Bill Gates taxation to whatever municipality he lives in, the expected result would be that the richest person in the world would pay practically no taxes; you need to tax (and thus cooperatively track) worldwide revenue of people and corporations. Tax spending can and should be handled as locally as possible, but tax collection would be best done globally, cooperatively eliminating loopholes (like forcing tax shelter jurisdictions to change their ways) and establishing common rules to avoid a "bidding war to the bottom", like the current EU initiative to harmonize corporate income tax.
That is absurd. People can feel a sense of community on many scales, but the extremes are from ones own family to feeling like a citizen of Earth and a part of a global human culture.
Nation states are one optional step on that ladder, and it has many more than just three levels in it. Hell, just consider the difference in scale of nation states - from a country like New Zealand that has half the population of the New York Metro Area, to India or China with more than a billion people each. Completely arbitrary, and the size and cultural divides between different countries are massive. You can't even come close to placing all nation states at one tier of social inclusion and absolutely cannot ascribe individual happiness to membership in one.
The current crop of nationalism in the west is coming from the dying breath of a generation on the way out. People they don't want to fade away or have someone else take their place, that want to fight for what is effectively just them getting younger again and wanting to be back in the 1950s and 1960s with all that entails.
The only hope can be that rather than try to resist globalization the world economy can collectively steer it towards positive outcomes for humanity rather than selfish outcomes for the soon to be trillionaires steering the ship. And that the economic tides of the modern era don't embitter new generations into the same blind nostalgia for their own pasts when the world moves on - back to that steering issue - we need to avoid having hundreds of millions more people fall off the train in the future to avoid this environment happening again.
The shoddy implementation in the past has been empire. Anyone can become a citizen of Rome. There was even a "Roman" empire which persisted for centuries that didn't even include the city of Rome. Rather it was an idea, a uniting of cultures under a common law and currency.
But the trouble with centralization is when it breaks down ("when", not "if") people go right back to their natural state of bands and tribes and feudal warlords. And it's hard to have nice things in that state. Witness Somalia or the Middle Ages. So I think some intermediate organizational complexity is good as a buffer and insurance against collapse back to low level tribalism.
If the idea of eventual world governance is some type of EU/UN council of bureaucrats making detailed rules and policies I'm afraid that won't work out well. The word "ineffective" comes to mind. Plus, the cogs and citizens in nation states have an extreme vested interest in keeping things as they are. So there will, for the foreseeable future, be a very large group not interested in reporting to an international committee who have enough power to make sure it doesn't happen.
However the problems of nation states, particularly right now, are very real. Pollution. International crime. Tax Evasion. Sophisticated weaponry. Etc. Etc.
These things have to self organize in my opinion. Kind of like how they say you should look for trails in the grass where people have walked to see where to put the sidewalks.
I've always thought the eventual outcome would be something along the lines of a very lose international order dealing with broad rules of pollution, international trade etc. and then more detailed city/county level governments who take care of most of the day to day governance. I've thought AI might be best suited to run the international order. Remove the politics at that level. Keep it math.
Regions need other regions to help them when things are going badly (and if we are to experiment, we need to acknowledge that bad things will happen to regions that they themselves cannot solve). Nation states are composed of many regions so they can force or incentivize regions to share the load.
If we truly want equal opportunity, we need to make sure that regions are not completely stopped from innovating but also don't have to take all of the consequences when something goes wrong. Sure, they shouldn't come off scot-free, but it's very low for a region's children, elderly and sick to pay the full price for something they had little chances to stop anyway.
The international supporters are just domestic terrorists, to be dealt with by police.
Really nothing changes from present day, except that Russia and the US aren't doing their own thing in the region with their own militaries, which is largely what caused most of the unrest and extremism in the region - their interventions for the past century in that area.
The modern democratic nation state was widely ridiculed in Europe, by existing kingdoms and fiefdoms.
I feel like what I am watching on most of this thread is whatever future comes next being widely ridiculed by defenders of the current state of affairs. History repeats itself.
(I don't mean to be so dismissive, but a lot of people still don't have access to the internet and the technology and services, and they way they get that infrastructure built is through nation states.)
For most people, they are stuck with the government they have no matter what, regardless of if it is a good or bad one.
For all of them, a world government changes nothing. They are already at the whims of leaders that can work harmoniously or for selfish ends that can better or worsen their lives with no recourse on their individual parts.
The exception, and I think this is what the OP misses, is that Europe is demonstrating that you can take a different route, with sovereign states that agree to open borders that allow people to instead go wherever they feel best served by the state. The EU is new, but if it doesn't fall apart I guarantee in a century it will evolve into different countries appealing to the specialized interests of certain peoples who then migrate there. I would feel that is much more healthy than trying to erect universal laws upon every human on Earth.
Yes, and it's not just about population size, there are more important concerns, such as the safety and economic mobility of the individual.
Let me put it like this, would you rather live in your current nation state with the leadership you have, or under a world government run by a ruler like Duerte that openly promotes killing people (my apologies if you're currently living in a country like this).
> "For most people, they are stuck with the government they have no matter what"
Not really. People do move country when things get bad in their own one (for political and economic reasons), even when they don't have much money to do so. People even risk their lives to make such journeys.
> "They are already at the whims of leaders that can work harmoniously or for selfish ends that can better or worsen their lives with no recourse on their individual parts."
Not all countries are equally badly run. Some national governments look after their citizens better than others. I can list some examples if you like.
> "Europe is demonstrating that you can take a different route"
Europe isn't taking a different route. The EU is becoming increasingly centralised. The Eurozone is a step towards consolidating economic power in Brussels, there are talks of an EU Army, etc...
> "I would feel that is much more healthy than trying to erect universal laws upon every human on Earth."
In my opinion, the best compromise is universal rights rather than universal laws. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was organised by the UN is one example of this:
The threat of Napoleon got the Holy Roman Empire to globulate into its modern nation-states. But I don't see how Saudi Arabia is ever going to relinquish power, let alone share a government with the Israelis.
1) Decouple states from strictly adjacent geography. There's no reason that "France" has to all be where it is in Europe. We already have precedent for that with Embassies, Diplomatic vehicles and other foreign soil recognitions. Imagine a France franchise the size of your average McDonalds, in the middle of what we now call Thailand. Maybe it's in a mall next to a Venezuelan franchise. You can pass between entirely different governing systems as easily as walking between stores. There's other precedents, colonial territories and other overseas holdings, but those have different semantics I think than overseas diplomatic mission franchises.
2) Since states no longer are tied to specific contiguous geographic areas, why do historic nations only get to play in the franchise game? How about independent state franchises? What if Google opened some brick and mortar micro nations in city centers all over the world? Or Green Peace? Or any group of like-minded individuals able to "buy-in" to whatever threshold is required to achieve some kind of global state franchise recognition? What if stepping into any Walmart was effectively the same as walking into the Nation of Walmart? Why does a nation even need territory? What about on-line nation states?
There's some precedent here as well, with a couple non-territory owning states like the Knights of St. John having many functions and obligations of a state, without having any territory.
3) This effectively makes the (dys)topia of nation-companies come true. But it also enables very free movement between nations. Don't like how Walmart taxes the little guy? Move over to Sony, or France, or the Reconstituted U.S.S.R. in Australia.
The other path is of course a kind of global citizenship, where citizenship to individual nation states either doesn't exist or is purely optional. Or another model where citizenship can happen at different scales such as county citizenship that gives you specific rights within a tiny territory or continental citizenship that spans across nation states. Another path might be buying certain pieces and parts of different citizenships: I want American-style free speech and libel laws, but U.K. style health care and Korean style justice system...so I become fractional citizen of those three states for those things and pay taxes (dues) into those systems apportioned to some asking price.
Ultimately the real question here that will determine the mechanics of this evolution will be "what's the goal?". If it's free movement between territories, a system like the E.U. or the U.S. seems to work pretty well for that. If it's looking for a specific kind of representation (better health care in this place vs. that, different legal standards for property ownership, etc.) then some other system. Nation State membership today works because it's at some equilibrium that provides some measure of rights and obligations that more or less works for the population.
That equilibrium in many cases has changed significantly over time, with new rights being recognized, and new obligations also being asked of the citizenry, sometimes states that aren't working are dissolved and sometimes new ones take their place. But the general direction is that states with an internal ability to peacefully move along with that equilibrium seem to be doing well, and ones that provide too rigid of a framework finds themselves in trouble. The unfairness of course comes with the minority of people in each nation who are at the ends of the various internal socio-political spectrums in each state who can't get a representation-responsibility mix that works for them, and their particular state can't offer.
If you operate the Google, you too can learn trivial bullshit like this. Of course, you already have, and I haven't told you anything you don't already know. Your comment was entirely pro forma, a meaningless gesture that one makes while under the influence of the mind-killer. I encourage you to read this thread: I'm not the one who referred to this bizarre occasion in the first place, and my point is not that Hillary is an any way an exceptionally awful national politician. Most of them are exactly the same as she is.
[EDIT:] Congratulations on successfully trolling me, I guess. Since you just jumped in at this point with your "I'm not a huge Hillary Clinton fan" shtick, and I was the first to successfully spell her name even though the thread discussing this has been up for nine hours, I have to wonder: do you have a continuous alert running on HN for political discussions into which you can interject your uniquely anodyne brand of mainstream Democrat advocacy? Your request for citations, such as it is, would have been more reasonably inserted upthread.