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He has repeatedly noted in his speeches that half of humanity has neither received nor made a simple telephone call. Whether one looks at the availability of drinking water, sanitation, educational opportunities, other crucial facets of human development, one can see that globalization per se has offered no cure-all for humanity's welfare needs. Nor has globalization ushered in a golden age of world peace. In the decade since the end of the Cold War, over five million people have been killed in armed conflicts around the world -- that is about a million more than the entire population of the state of Colorado.

There also remain an estimated 30, nuclear weapons that, if used in a global conflict, could eliminate all the various gains of globalization in just a few minutes. The Nation State Many of the brightest prospects, as well as the worst potential risks, of globalization stem from the fate of the nation, in particular its association with the administrative structure known as the state.

The idea that each state should have, or coincide with, its underlying nation goes back many years before the doctrine of national self-determination was enshrined -- albeit selectively -- in the Versailles Treaty after World War I. Though there is considerable disagreement over the formal definition of the term, the communitarian nation differs from the administrative machinery of the state much as the human spirit differs from the bones and muscles of one's body.

The nation is not an administrative contrivance, but a form of collective social identity, one that is based on a common historical, linguistic, or cultural heritage.

Globalization and Nation State

Historically, the leaders of states have relied upon nations as a base of support for official laws and policies, indeed, as a basis for their own legitimacy. As the backbone of political power of the administrative state, the nation has rallied behind many great causes, including many of the progressive reforms in social, economic, and environmental policy of the 20th century. Yet since Napoleonic times, the nation has also been associated with the age of total war, of horrific conflicts between the peoples of the world rather than just their armies.

This unfettered spirit of the nation, when combined with the revolutionary advances in military technology in the 19th and 20th century, has led to the bloodiest years in the history of humanity. Even today, the nation, and its associated ideology -- nationalism -- continue to provide a formidable obstacle to constructive international cooperation on an enormous variety of common global problems. In an age of total war, of instant global communications and fast, cheap travel, the nation state has appeared to many observers as a quaint, even dangerous anachronism.

Even a hard-core realist like Hans Morgenthau was drawn to declare thirty-five years ago that -- in his words -- Modern technology has rendered the nation state obsolete as a principle of political organization; for the nation state is no longer able to perform what is the elementary function of any political organization: to protect the lives of its members and their way of life.

Globalization and the Nation State

The modern technologies of transportation, communications, and warfare, and the resultant feasibility of all-out atomic war, have completely destroyed this protective function of the nation state. Contemporary observers and leaders alike have devoted considerable effort throughout the postwar years in the pursuit of measures to go -- in the popular parlance -- "beyond the nation state. Habits can be powerful political forces indeed. As Samuel Johnson once said, "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Impact of Globalisation on Nation States (CH-03)

Indeed, many of the legal and political principles of exclusivity commonly associated with the nation state are enshrined in the great treaty linking all countries, the Charter of the United Nations. Yet, at the start of the new millennium, we are also seeing the gradual emergence of an awareness throughout the world of our common humanity and the planet as a whole rather than simply the sum of its parts.

This synthesis of the globe and the nation state as the fundamental units of sustained political activity is but another way of thinking about the process of globalization. The idea here is not to replace the nation state but to adapt it to be more responsive to human needs in new global conditions. Without a doubt the best expression of the synthesis that is now underway can be found in a historic document that was issued last September after the Millennium Summit at the United Nations, the largest-ever gathering of world leaders. This document, called the Millennium Declaration, consists of a statement of common values and principles, as well as a list of specific common objectives.

Specific initiatives are outlined in the areas of peace, security, and disarmament; development and poverty eradication; protecting the environment; human rights, democracy, and good governance; protecting the vulnerable; meeting the special needs of Africa; and strengthening the United Nations. It is noteworthy that the primary agent for pursuing these common, global goals remains the state.

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The declaration itself, for example, was, unlike the Charter, a statement by "heads of State and Government" not their peoples. In this document, these leaders emphatically rededicated themselves "to uphold the sovereign equality of all States," to respect their "territorial integrity and political independence," and to reaffirm their commitment of "non-interference in the internal affairs of States.

Yet to read only those passages pertaining to the state would be to ignore other parts of the declaration that clearly seek to move the focus of political action to the betterment of all humanity. Hence one finds listed among the key values of the new Declaration a "collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level.

Education, Globalization and the Nation State

The document puts forward clear global ends and relies upon states as key agents in pursuing those ends on behalf of all humanity. The Declaration offers states a road map of initiatives they should follow for the collective good of all. In the area of protecting the environment, for example, the Declaration's language calls upon states to embrace and implement numerous international conventions and understandings, including the Kyoto Protocol and support for the principles of sustainable development enshrined in the Rio Declaration.


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The actions needed to enforce such agreements do not materialize from nowhere: they continue to depend heavily upon enlightened action by states. Globalization and the NGOs This begs the question, how is it possible to motivate structures of the state that have for centuries now sought to maximize the interest of specific local nationalities, to implement instead policies that serve the global common good?

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Even if it were possible to place an enlightened leader at the head of every government on Earth, that would be no guarantee that the complicated machinery of the state would respond to this solemn new responsibility. Global values simply cannot be imposed upon states from without. They must be embraced by states from within. The state is a neutral administrative structure that can be used for purposes both good and bad.

It is neither inherently nor inevitably the enemy of globalization.


  • What Is the Role of the Nation-State in Globalization??
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The central challenge of our time is not to achieve the end of the nation state, but to rehabilitate the ends of the nation state. Globalization must mean more than simply the sterile process of expanding markets.

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In presenting his Millennium Report to the General Assembly a year ago, Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered the following observations: To make a success of this great upheaval, we must learn how to govern better, and -- above all how to govern better together. We need to make our States stronger and more effective at the national level.

And we need to get them working together on global issues, all pulling their weight and having their say. A few days later he described the following as needed for a well-functioning international system: "Ultimately, national action is the determining factor. If there is a single idea that embodies the sum total of national action, that idea is good goverance.

Strong laws to protect the environment, for example, are forged as a result of a sustained political process, a process involving persisting efforts throughout civil society. Enlightened leaders in government require this popular participation to adopt laws and policies to meet genuine human needs, just as the groups in society that are advocating such reforms must also depend upon official authorities to promulgate and vigorously enforce such reforms.

In this light, NGOs can be a catalyst of what is truly good about globalization. Though they are elected by no one and lack legal authority themselves to govern, they play a crucial role in helping the state to identify new goals, in educating the wider public of the need for action, and in providing political support that government leaders need to enact new laws, to implement new policies, and to see that they are enforced. NGOs also will have a role in exposing inefficient and ineffective policies and in mobilizing demands for constructive change. Conclusion If it is true that the nation state is likely to remain for some time to come a prominent reference point in the "cartography of governance" -- the subject of this symposium -- it is also true that the specific role of this administrative structure will be determined by more than structural or topographic features of a political system.

To this extent, a "meteorology of governance" is needed as well, for it addresses the dynamic though often unpredictable processes that occur across the political landscape. If the winds of political change are to sweep into the dusty halls of government, they will originate from the same place they have always arisen from time immemorial -- they will flow from the voices of the people. To overcome the numerous institutional obstacles to change, broad-based coalitions must be formed among the people. Multinational corporations, in particular, challenge nation-states to confront the unique issue of foreign direct investments , forcing nation-states to determine how much international influence they allow in their economies.

Globalization also creates a sense of interdependence among nations, which could create an imbalance of power among nations of different economic strengths. The role of the nation-state in a global world is largely a regulatory one as the chief factor in global interdependence. While the domestic role of the nation-state remains largely unchanged, states that were previously isolated are now forced to engage with one another to set international commerce policies. Through various economic imbalances, these interactions may lead to diminished roles for some states and exalted roles for others.

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