“No higher authority?” The section in the second chapter that discusses a state’s ability to claim sovereignty was very interesting. Looking at the world today I would say that networks of connections through globalization, outside political authorities and international religious and philosophical communities is needed for global progress. However, along with the increase global connections comes an increase in a state’s ability to claim and sustain sovereignty.
Globalization “undermines the ability of the state to plan, steer and govern the ‘national’ economy” (31). Because a state’s economy is not only impacted by the actions of the people residing within the state, it is difficult to determine who has authority over the economic affairs of each nation. For instance, if an American company such as Starbucks that has investments in many parts of the world wishes to make economic decisions that affect farmers in Colombia, does Columbia have sovereign authority of the American company? Or, does the American company have more economic and political authority in areas in which they are not citizens?
Another fascinating point that the chapter discusses is the issue of state authorities challenged by international belief systems. Today terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda have members in numerous nations all around the world. The members of Al Qaeda demonstrate, through acts of violence and terror, that their allegiance lies within the political group of their religion and not in the country in which they live.
Even groups who are not violent pose a threat to the sovereignty of a nation. Small religious groups who break national laws in order to follow religious practices threaten a state’s ability to have ultimate sovereignty. Groups such as polygamists may be peaceful and may seem to pose no apparent threat to a state. However, if one group of people is allowed to live in defiance against the state for their beliefs, than what is to stop other groups from insubordinations against the established authority?
It is too late to turn back time and stop globalization or the creation of international faith communities. With an increase in technological advancements, the interconnectedness of the world will only become more complicated. The question then remains. How do states hold on to sovereignty if their citizens do not solely depend on the state to provide them with economic success? Is nationalism a system of the past? Will people become so attached to the global philosophical group or faith community that they no longer find a sense of belonging in their geographical territories? How will leaders of the future ensure national sovereignty?
May I suggest that the old system of state authority is slowly dying? I believe that in the next few hundred years there will be an increase in organizations like the European Union, United Nations, and World Bank. I believe these organizations will gain more support from not only citizens but will be the only place national leaders will be able to find stability. I think we are seeing the beginnings of a new world in which the idea of sovereign independent states are slowly disappearing. What do you think the world will look like 500 or even 1000 years from today?