What can replace the nation-state?

Jean-Francois Rischard: It’s a question that really preoccupied me when I wrote the book. In other terms, I don’t think we can do away with the nation state system. As I said, it’s brand new and it happens to work quite well for internal management of countries. And we don’t have a better system to manage a very complicated world population; but what we must find is some way to put pressure from above on the nation states and on the politicians so that they are more long term minded and more planet minding than they normally are. And when I ask myself what the source of that pressure could be, the first thing you think about is you set up . . . the setting up of a world government that would sit on top of the 185 or 190 nation states and force them to be serious about global problem solving. That solution, I think, doesn’t have a chance in the world to materialize. And if it does materialize, it would not be in this 20 year window that we have. It would be taking 50 or 100 years. And it’s probably a bad idea in the first place to have a global government. So I’m trying to find other sources of pressures from above, or from anywhere, on nation states and their politicians. And that’s . . . that is one solution going into that direction that I described in my book. Whether that solution will be enough or not, I don’t know; but it has to be in that direction we have to go. We should have a world government, but we won’t have one. So what other systems can we use to put ourselves at the nation state level, and the pressure to be much more global citizen like and much more serious about solving these big, urgent issues before it’s too late?

Recorded on: 7/2/07



Nation-states are useful, but limited in their perspective.