Has Globalization Caused Death of Nation-states?
Globalization is the increasing interaction, integration, interconnectedness and interdependence of people across the globe. The phenomenon is marked by the de-territorialisation of political, economic and social activities as well as denationalization of political power. The exchange of goods, technology, money, services and ideas is now deeper, cheaper and faster. Globalization is the integration ofworld in such away that events in one part of the world affect other parts of the world. The phenomenon has resulted into mass-migration across the national borders in an unprecedented manner thanks to the technologically advanced means of travelling. Globalization has a transformational effect on the political, cultural, economic, social and ideological dimensions of communities around the world, which are now increasinglymore integrated then they had ever been before in the history of mankind. The exchange of ideas and information through the latest technology of mobile phones and internet has challenged the traditional norms of national and international politics. There are two views about the challenges posed to the traditional state-centric model of international politics by globalization. A predominant view is that globalization has resulted in making the nation-states, which were traditionally considered as the fundamental and most important actor of international politics, 'irrelevant'. According to the proponents of this view, who will henceforth be referred to as the 'Globalists', the phenomenon of globalization has replaced the state-centric model of world politics by a global society or the so-called global village, which is characterized by a more homogeneous community. The global village is like a melting-pot, where the traditional identities of state-hood and nationality are eroded. An alternative and diametrically opposite view is that if the phenomenon of globalization exists at all, it is nothing new, and the advancement in technology and communications cannot alter the fundamental realities of international politics. This school of 'Traditionalists' also believes that states will remain the central feature of the international system, regardless of the level of
sophistication in technology. The preceding paragraphs will shed light on both of these views and their major arguments. The traditionalists believe that the international system will not be able to work without nation-states. In case there are no nationstates, multifarious problems will come to forth. States are indispensible for many reasons, such as: for levying and collecting taxes; providing welfare to their people; maintaining armed forces for provision of security to their citizens; enforcing law and order in their respective territories; and defining rights and duties of their citizens. The system of nation-states is thus indispensible for preventing anarchy and chaos in theworld. However, those who talk of “the death of the Westphalian sovereignty”, say that the phenomenon of globalization has changed the realities of the international system in numerous ways and hence, many notions of the traditionalists are becoming obsolete. The assumption of the traditionalists that nation-states are the fundamental units of the international system and that a nation-state has absolute sovereignty over its territory and its people, is also termed as unrealistic. Gone are the days of the Westphalian states that had clearly defined borders, national population, independent and sovereign government, which had sovereignty over its citizens and borders. Instead, the world has ushered into a global age; Westphalian States are now a thing of the past. The age of globalization has destroyed borders. The borders may be present on maps, but in reality they have blurred. The biggest example is that of the European Union. The people of the EU countries travel across border without visa or even travel documents. Germans are no more Germans, French are no more French; they travel freely across their borders, they speak English and even Chinese, travel in Japanese cars and watch American movies. The concept of national population under a sovereign authority has eroded; people now belong to a global population; their concerns are global.