Global Policy Forum

Nations & States

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For 300 years, nation-states grew and prospered. They waged wars on an increasingly destructive and global scale (the national security state) and they assumed broad tasks of social and economic management (the welfare state). Their ubiquity was taken for granted. But for the past 25 years or so, states have been in retreat -- weakening, shrinking, sinking as globalizing capital undermines their tax base, erodes their regulatory apparatus, stymies their policy machinery and questions their legitimacy. The future of humanity depends on what happens to states and where "sovereign" decisions will be taken instead. These materials look at these questions and track some of the main trends.

What Is a "State"?

This page analyzes the concept of the state as form of political organization, including experimental and microstates.

What Is a "Nation"?

This page analyzes the concept of the nation as form of social organization.

General Analysis on States and Their Future

This page provides articles and analyses discussing the forces and processes that transforms the nation-state, and hints at ways in which "sovereign" decisions are increasingly made by other actors.

Emerging States & Claims to Autonomy and Independence

This section provides analysis on a number of different emerging states, unrepresented peoples, and other claims to autonomy and independence.

Failed States

This section looks at the phenomenon of state failure and possible factors that cause states to collapse.

Political Integration and National Sovereignty

This section analyzes attempts to integrate sovereign states into political unions such as the European Union and the African Union, and how this affects state sovereignty.

Citizenship and Nationality

This section provides information on the changing role of citizenship and nationality.

State Sovereignty and the Global Economy

This section analyzes the effect global economic forces have on the power of states to determine their own fiscal and economic policies.

State Sovereignty and Corruption

This section looks at how corruption, money laundering, tax havens, and flags of convenience challenge the power of the state.

Private Military & Security Companies

This section looks at how private companies have become the ultimate neoliberal re-invention of the state, putting armed force at the direct service of those who can pay for it.

NGOs and States

This page covers the often complex relationship between NGOs and states.

Tables and Charts

This page provides tables and charts on offshore centers, export processing zones and other matters related to nations and states.

Resources and Bibliography

This section links to resources and lists books on issues of nationalism and states.    

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