Nation states are too small to solve global problems like nuclear disarmament and climate change, and too big to solve local problems like housing.
The world’s nation states will disintegrate, and governments will take the form locally of city states. Geopolitical concerns will be managed by the United Nations of city states. The UN will handle global issues like sovereignty, climate change, nuclear disarmament and mediation of war. The city states will handle regional issues such as property rights, housing and local crime.
The question I always ask myself is what would I change if a certain hypothesis about the future were true. So many areas of our lives at this point are anchored to the notion that nation states have relevance. But practically we see the lack of ability to solve real problems in the world.
Nation states were a creation of a world where the monopoly on force was the most important determining factor in the form of a successful government. In modern times, the return on investment of violent acts is significantly negative. People ask why we don’t redistribute defense spending directly back to taxpayers, and it’s an increasingly important question to be asking.
My belief is that if nation states did not exist in their current form today, we would not recreate them knowing what we know now. That is another argument against trying to maintain them.
The future will inevitably look different from the past. Contrary to popular opinion, history has not ended. Sending private school kids to wooden rooms to argue on our behalf no longer works. Whether our future is good depends on whether we adapt to the relevant forms of governing. The future is one of a United Nations of city states and the city states themselves.
The age of the nation state is over.