Tag Archives: nation-states

The depression as a stress-test for nation-states

Does the financial implosion mean the end of the road for nation-states as we know them? John ‘Global Guerillas’ Robb seems to think it might be, as they’re now caught between two increasingly powerful forces:

1. A dominant, turbulent, and uncontrollable global super-network, that is pressuring/weakening/buffeting nation-states from above.
2. Super-empowered individuals/groups rising up from below that are ready to pounce on or exploit any demonstration of nation-state weakness.

As Robb points out, many of the responses to the situation thus far have been based in the same sort of political thinking that dominated the early 20th Century, and suggests that decentralisation is more likely to be a successful tactic:

… decentralization that both improves resilience and accelerates (parallelizes) innovation offers a greater chance of success.   Nation-states that ease the process of decentralization will likely have both the easiest transition to the new fluid environment and the best long term prospects (wealth creation).

In other words, nation-states are most likely to survive by becoming less like nation-states; whether those massive institutions will be able to let go of the reins that easily remains to be seen.

Climate change forces Maldives to attempt buying a new homeland

Maldives beachAll the arguments about what actually causes global warming look pretty pointless when you read a story like this one: the Maldive Islands – the highest point of which is a mere 2.4 meters above sea level – are planning to divert tourism income into a fund with which to buy a new homeland elsewhere. [image by notsogoodphotography]

[President Nasheed] said Sri Lanka and India were targets because they had similar cultures, cuisines and climates. Australia was also being considered because of the amount of unoccupied land available.

“We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades,” he said.


Nasheed said he intended to create a “sovereign wealth fund” from the dollars generated by “importing tourists”, in the way that Arab states have done by “exporting oil”. “Kuwait might invest in companies; we will invest in land.”

Yet another straw on the camel’s back of geographically-defined nation states? You can bitch about the causes all you want, but when people’s homes start to disappear beneath the sea they’re not going to pay a damned bit of notice to you fiddling while Rome burns.

Offshore abortion boat defies Spanish laws

In a world that is increasingly flattened by technology and transportation, it’s getting harder for nation-states to impose restrictions on their citizens. Spain’s abortion laws are the latest to be challenged by Holland’s “Women on Waves” ship, which anchors in international waters offshore from countries with prohibitive stances on abortion to allow women the right of choice without fear of legal repercussions. [via Pharyngula]

When climate change turns entire nations into refugees and/or migrants, will geography cease to determine which legal system constrains you? Or will the notion of physical territory simply become atomised to the micro-scale, like the turf demarcations of London teenagers?