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JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC ISSUES Vol. XLII No. 2 June 2008

Globalization and the Nation-State: Dead or Alive
Richard L. Brinkman and June E. Brinkman

Abstract: Has the current process of globalization led to a decline in nationstate sovereignty? To address this question there is a need to clarify the concepts of the nation-state and nationalism. A decline in U.S. nation-state sovereignty would serve to promote megacorporate power manifest in the rise of the corporate state over that of the nation- state. Evidence of U.S. nationstate decline appears in many areas, such as that of Article XVI in the WTO and policies of the IMF. The decline in nation-state sovereignty is also evident in U.S. policies of privatization manifest in the War Service Industry (WSI). Keywords: nation-state, nationalism, and War Service Industry (WSI) JEL Classification Codes: A12, B52, and F01

There is a good deal of discussion in the globalization literature related to the question: “Is the Nation-State Finished?” (Holton 1998, 80-107; Ohmai 1995). Even as early as 1969 Charles Kindleberger stated that “[t]he nation state is just about through as an economic unit” (Kindleberger 1969, 207). Is this position correct, and further, what would a conceivable loss of nation-state sovereignty portend for the long-term dynamics of ongoing culture evolution? The Cultural Complexities of Conception: The Nation, Nationality, the Nation-State and Nationalism Figure 1, “The Evolution of Culture,” depicts the sequential pattern of the stages of culture evolution. Culture evolves with the evolution of knowledge which in its application appears as technology. Technological advance, as a process of economic development relates to the core of culture and accounts for the dynamics of culture evolution. Figure 2, “The Evolution of Governance and Sovereignty,” relates to a

Richard L. Brinkman is a Professor Emeritus of Economics and International Studies and June E. Brinkman is Retired Adjunct Faculty at Portland State University. This paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Evolutionary Economics in New Orleans, LA, January 4-6, 2008.

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©2008, Journal of Economic Issues

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Richard L. Brinkman and June E. Brinkman

Figure 1. The Evolution of Culture

Figure 2. The Evolution of Governance and Sovereignty

Globalization and the Nation-State: Dead or Alive

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concomitant area, as a part of “that complex whole” known as culture. Governance and sovereignty are also manifest in a sequential pattern starting with tribal governance and city-states leading ultimately to nation-states, regional states and global states. Currently we find the existence of a cultural lag in which the global economy is accelerating faster than global governance. As we will argue, the adjustment to this global cultural lag will rest in part with a democratic polity embedded in the ongoing evolution and enhancement of nation-state sovereignty. Over time the locus of sovereignty evolved along with the evolution of governance in the form of city-states, nation-states, and on to nationalism. The literature offers a wide dispersion of conception and theory as to what constitutes the meaning of a nation, nation-state, and nationalism, as well as sovereignty, in terms of origins and functions. “The sociological view according to Commons is the scientific study of the emergence, evolution, and role of institutions. With respect to sovereignty it is about the role of the state relative to other states” and, consequently, with the dynamics of culture evolution (Atkinson 1998, 35-37; Commons 1967). Sovereignty refers to authority, a supreme power, a sovereign as king, with a capacity to rule and control. In the context of our paper the sovereignty of the nation-state is in conflict with that of the megacorporate state. During the feudal period, societies were fragmented in isolated manorial systems. Nation-states had as yet to appear. The collapse of...
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