1 Jul 2016
What is a Country in Today’s World ?
There is much uncertainty and anguish about the place of the nation in today’s world. In just over a decade, western societies have moved on from the utopia of democratic governance of a world united by the economy to one where nations are fenced off for protection. This switch explains the very great difficulty we now have in defining the economic, social and political role of nations.
On an objective map, the borders are clear for all to see. Globalisation and European integration have evidently reshuffled the cards, but contrary to what many political leaders affirm in efforts to justify their action, economic policy is certainly not beyond the control of national decision-makers. The first question is, therefore, what is the economic role of nations in today’s world?
Nations continue to convey collective identities. However, those identities are called into question by claims for regional identities and the emergence, within nations, of communities that do not seek assimilation. At the same time, elites are forming within the elites, while young people are subjected to a global culture that weakens national references. Societies that are economically weakened, ageing and less sure of themselves are struggling to define the visions for the future required by the “permanent polling” that makes up a dynamic identity. This brings us to the second question: where do the social coordinates of a nation lie today?
It is politics more than anything else that is destabilised by the national question. Expectations of the political realm apparently surpass the scope of solutions that it can actually implement. This gap, which delegitimises politics, is one of the main causes of the democratic crisis where two visions are opposed: one considers that all forms of interdependence undermine sovereignty and the role of the nation, while the other seeks to construct transnational democracy with different levels of responsibility and representation. This raises our third question: how do you redefine the scope of democracy in a pragmatic manner?
Cercle des économistesBiography
Editorial Director and columnist
Nobel Peace Price 2015Biography
Historien et Philosophe
Former Managing Director