I just wanted to address the argument that the Nation State is ending or already died. (Why am I paying taxes then?) I have had a hard time finding a succinct summary of the various arguments. So here is one.
The declarations of the passing away of the nation-state comes from three different fields.
1. Economics — Globalization
Rise of the Multinationals
The argument here is that a new order of political and economic entities have risen since World War II to international prominence. They exert their influence through organizations such as the World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund. These companies do not obey national boundaries; however they do support nations in order to manage and control populations for use as markets and labor. In this way, nationalism, has become an important component in controlling populations, but does not confer on a population any economic or political advantage.
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2. Communications — Globalization
The argument here is that individual access to unmoderated, instantaneous communication channels — such as the Web, email, and cell phones — has created international communities and distribution networks. In this way, membership to a national becomes less important than membership to a particular discourse community. The global protests to the United State’s conquest/liberation of Iraq would be a case in-point. This is also a process of globalization, and in fact travels on the same channels developed by the multinationals to institute control over regional markets.
2. Biology — Change in The Subject
The role of heredity and biology in the composition of identity undermines the former view that environmental factors — such as school and state — played a primary role in identity. Human beings are not born as empty shells that must be filled with education and culture, but rather arrive as complexly designed genetic beings that essentially build themselves.
Say what? How does this have anything to do with the nation-state? This affects the nation-state because one of the primary roles of the nation-state was to educate and provide for it’s citizens with the education and culture necessary to fill one of these blank boxes with goodness and health (or in a religious national-state the tools to fulfill their spiritual mission in addition to goodness and health). Hence to be wild, to be uncultured, was a bad thing. To be cultured meant you were the citizen of a nation-state.
This is not to say that the nation-state has outlived its usefulness, but it certainly means that it’s function to shape and mold people — who are already being shaped and molded by natural forces (their genetic identity) — can only be seen as controlling and nefarious (esp. in light of the use of nationalism by the global corporations to create cheap labor and good markets).
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So, that’s my quick and dirty summary. Death to the Nation-State!