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Readings on the Power of the Nation-State Essay

World Society and the Nation-State by John W. Meyer, John Boli, George M. Thomas, and Francisco O. Ramirez * This essay begins by explaining that it is the world models of institutions and the purposes they serve—equality, socioeconomic progress, human development—are the foundations for the current nation-state order. These world models have become increasingly important in the post-war era as globalization has increased and intensified exponentially. * They then expand upon this point, explaining that traditionally, scholars believe that states are products of their own histories and internal forces. This essay asserts that this is inaccurate because in today’s era especially, there are many outside forces due to globalization that shape a nation state’s culture, institutions, and other features.

* They argue that the main reasons for the emergence of world-society models have been out of wars, like World War II and the Cold War. These global conflicts may have pushed for the improvement of nationally organized progress and human development on the global scale. * Many scholars predict a failure of world-society, drawing upon evidence from the gross violations of world-cultural principles in Bosnia, the stagnant development in Africa, and the overall evasion of proper responsibility all over the globe.

The Declining Authority of States by Susan Strange
* Strange opens with the assertion that although they may not admit it, those in charge in capitalist nations are losing power and reputability. Politicians make empty promises and the people no longer believe them. It is exactly this type of discontent that brought down the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Political discontent by the public has risen globally and seems to be evident everywhere. * Strange also asserts that answers lie in the public opinion and everyday citizens of a country, not in the current political system. She says this because normal people use commonsense which seems to be more legitimate than the most common academic theories politicians base their notions upon.

* Strange argues that after extensive study of the global political economy, she has come to the conclusion that we need to rethink some of the traditional concepts and assumptions that international relations are based upon. She presents four main assumptions that need to be revised: 1. The limits of politics as a social activity. 2. The nature and sources of power within a society. 3. The necessity and contrasting invisibility of authority in a capitalist economy. 4. The anarchic nature of international society and rational conduct of states as the unitary actors in that society. * An interesting point Strange argues is that as governments try to gain more authority, they are squashing out ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples’ sovereignty. Some principle examples include the Basques of southwestern Europe, the Tibetans of China, the Scots of the United Kingdom, and the Aborigines of Australia.

 Global Organized Crime by James H. Mittelman
Mittelman explains that because of globalization, crime has completely evolved into a more complex and frightening concept. The new type of global crime involves crimes that didn’t even exist a few decades ago—computer crimes, money laundering, nuclear material theft, counterfeiting, stock market schemes, etc. Crime is also no longer localized, but taking place on a global scale. * Mittelman provides a chief example of this globalized crime using Chinese triads that have smuggled people illegally into the U.S. since the 1840’s. The corruption of the Chinese government and oppression of Chinese workers has caused this issue of illegal migration.

* Mittelman also explains that global organized crime can be equated to transnational firms because they operate both above and below the state. Above the state, they operate using the manipulation of permeable borders and deregulation. Below the state, they operate by offering incentives to the marginalized populations who are struggling to cope with the effects of globalization. * He also describes the role of global crime in relation to the state. Traditionally, states are viewed as arbiters and mediators in interstate relations. However, this role is changing as crime has transcended borders and caused the cooperation of state governments to try and combat this trend. Mittelman also clarifies that although crime groups aren’t revolutionary or trying to take over the government, they are slowly changing the role of government and somewhat undermining its power.

 Has Globalization Gone Too Far? By Dani Rodrik
* Rodrik begins by asserting that globalization has dramatically increased the gap between the rich and the poor; the middle class is disappearing. Because of this, tension between those in charge—the policymakers and market moguls—and those at the bottom—workers, environmentalists, etc.—has risen and become a major dividing factor. * This divide causes tension and a decrease in social stability. Rodrik highlights three main sources of tension. 1. Reduced barriers to trade and investment accentuate the imbalance between groups that can transcend international borders—capitalists, professionals, highly skilled workers—and those that can’t—unskilled workers.

2. Nations face major differences in terms of ideologies, politics, socioeconomics and this can cause conflicts within and between nations of opposing traditions. 3. Globalization has made it close to impossible for governing bodies to provide social insurance—a central function that has held societies together in the post-war period. * Rodrik then explains that in order to deal with these issues, policymakers must make difficult decisions in order to strike a balance between domestic cohesion and global interaction. Rodrik recognizes that this situation is usually viewed as a trade-off, however through maintaining a healthy balance between domestic needs and global progress, this can be achieved.

Welfare Spending in an Era of Globalization: The North-South Divide by John Glenn * Glenn first recognizes that in less-industrialized states, welfare spending has decreased during the period of globalization due to the increased spending focused on structural development. On the other hand, highly industrialized nations have been the key agents in starting and maintaining globalization. * Glenn then examines two different hypotheses. The first states that nations are actively reconfiguring themselves in order to produce a business-nurturing environment. This competition state hypothesis claims that the globalization of the economy is putting the pressures on the states to make the business-conducive environment.

The second hypothesis asserts that states make up for those who are most negatively affected by the economic progress and as a result of this, a decrease in social spending will not occur. * Glenn recognizes the overlap between these two hypotheses in that they both emphasize the importance of state investment in human capital in order to compete in the global economy of today. He also supports his findings with several tables exhibiting different states’ growth of government expenditures, social spending trends, etc. in order for readers to visually see these trends that are occurring across the globe.

World Culture and the Future of Schooling by David P. Baker and Gerald K. LeTendre * This article begins with the theory that education is, contrary to popular belief, a global undertaking. It defines the traditional, national vision of education as an institution for education and socialization of a country’s youth, preparing them to be successful adult citizens of their nation. The authors argue that this notion is inaccurate and is becoming more so every day. * The article asserts that global forces are shaping the evolution of schooling and education is growing more globally uniform due to the permeability of borders and educational values penetrating those borders and infiltrating educational systems within those borders.

* The worldwide success of mass education is then examined. It is observed that all over the world, public schooling is educating the vast majority of youth and preparing them for a bright and educated future. In addition to this trend, traditional educational values have become widely accepted. These values can be education for the collective good, national government funding and interest in education, early education lasting through early adulthood as an effective tool in long-term impact, and statuses such as race, gender, religion and language should not deter an individual or group from accessing education.

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