Monday, March 24, 2014

Robert Reich on the decline of the nation-state

The nation-state is in decline but new tribalism is growing. That is a paradox we have to solve if we want our democracies to survive and new democracies to take root and expand. I said that as applied to Catalonia, Spain and Europe not long ago. It would seem that the USA is immune to these problems. However, here is what Robert Reich, former Cabinet member of the Clinton administration and professor at UC Berkeley has to say about it:
"We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation states. The same pattern can be seen even in America – especially in American politics.
Before the rise of the nation-state, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. They feared other tribes and often warred against them. Kings and emperors imposed temporary truces, at most.
But in the past three hundred years the idea of nationhood took root in most of the world. Members of tribes started to become citizens, viewing themselves as a single people with patriotic sentiments and duties toward their homeland. Although nationalism never fully supplanted tribalism in some former colonial territories, the transition from tribe to nation was mostly completed by the mid twentieth century.
Over the last several decades, though, technology has whittled away the underpinnings of the nation state. National economies have become so intertwined that economic security depends less on national armies than on financial transactions around the world. Global corporations play nations off against each other to get the best deals on taxes and regulations."
(Keep reading here).

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