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Worlds without nation‐states: Five scenarios for the very long term

Nations and Nationalism

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["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 27, Issue 2, Page 309-324, April 2021. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article develops five scenarios of how human society could be politically organized in 300 years, after nation‐states have dissolved and nationalism as their foundational ideology has dissipated. The scenarios are based on sociological theories on how functional integration and differentiation shape the evolution of modern societies. All scenarios therefore assume that the basic characteristics of modernity will persist and explore only a small area of the theoretically infinite space of long‐term futures. Also for the sake of manageability, the author envisions only one technological and economic basis for future political developments, which in turn will be constrained by the need to fulfil three basic functions: to provide public goods, collective defence and a political decision‐making mechanism. The five scenarios differ, however, in whether these functions are assumed by states, how large these will be and whether their boundaries align with cultural difference. The author thus arrives at an anarchic scenario without any states, a scenario with a thousand or more mini‐states based on shared cultural identities, an imperial scenario with a few states each claiming to represent an entire civilization, a world with culturally heterogenous and highly efficient Continental states and finally a world state.\n"]