Before I leave off talking about the nation-state, I want to talk some about its possible future. More than likely, many factors will cause the nation-state to remain in existence for quite some time. Not the least of these factors is the inertia of the system. Everything from airport customs to passports to trade agreements to internal taxation regimes will work to keep the organizational structure of world at status quo.
Besides the inertia locking us into the nation-state paradigm (and inertia can hardly be over-estimated when it comes to human endeavors), there are other factors working in the nation-state’s favor. Under the current system, the divisions between the languages in the world very much parallels the location of borders between the current nation-states. Thus, any new system for the organization of civilization will have to overcome the language barrier. And obviously, there are different currencies, laws, and customs that change as one crosses borders as well– not to mention the national chauvinism that has developed over the centuries– greatly encouraged by demagogues and war-mongers in power– that push people all over the world to view their fellow human beings across the fence as something strange and fearsome.
Regardless of all the nation-state has working in its favor, I want to present another view of the world, one we might one day construct. In this view, the nation-state evaporates as such, not by any force or shock to the system, but by natural atrophy once a few improvements are made in the way Earth’s inhabitants interact…
In this Ultimate World Order, there is a Universal Nth Language known by the peoples of all continents (and Atlantis, too, if it ever unsubmerges). No languages are lost or replaced. This Universal Nth Language would be like Math or Musical Notation— just an additional form of communication that we would all have in common. I am convinced that if we could but communicate adequately with each other, many of the world’s problems would be drastically reduced in severity and duration.
Also, with modern technology, it would be very easy to have a form of payment (credit card or otherwise) that could be used all over the world, automatically adjusting itself at the point-of-sale to the value assigned to it in that region’s economy. This idea is worthy of many a blogpost, so I won’t even get into the details of it, but I find it a fascinating possibility. We will assume for the sake of today’s argument that under this scenario, economies could still be “managed” and yet be able to use the worldwide common currency. Also, with the level of communication, along with the level of mobility for businesses and workers that would exist in the post-nation-state world, the world economy would be able to adjust and run with greater efficiency and fairness.
So already, we can see that two major supports holding up the nation-state are knocked away: 1) Language-barriers, and 2) currency differences.
Another major issue propping up the nation-state is the issue of personal security. But we don’t really need a nation-state to provide security. Local regions and neighborhoods could each adopt whatever security system they felt was best for them. They could, and probably would, cooperate in confederations for security problems of a certain type and scope.
And the maintenance of local laws and customs would actually work even better under a non-nation-state world order. Every community would have its norms, and people (all of us speaking the same language and using the same currency) could readily “shop” between communities and settle in the one that most matched up with our own customs, values, and ideals.
The only thing keeping us from achieving the vision of a generally peaceful and welcoming World Village is ourselves.