The Case Against the Nation-State System

  • Per A. Hammarlund
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan History of International Thought book series (PMHIT)


Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae are all staunch critics of the international system. They have in common a desire to downgrade the importance of national boundaries; to de-territorialize politics and economics; and to create a more cosmopolitan social and political world order. There are more or less irremediable flaws in the nature of the nation-state in its preoccupation with (power) politics, national self-determination, sovereignty, and state equality in international organizations. These concerns are anathema to a peaceful and prosperous international or global order. Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae indicate a desire ultimately to replace the principle of state sovereignty and to supersede the political system of nation-states. However, the tensions between Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae’s rhetoric of state decline and their suggestions for what domestic roles states should play are carried over to their views on the nation-state system. This chapter demonstrates that, despite their desire to overcome the dominance of the nation-state in world relations, they offer very little that would promise to move beyond the system of nation-states. Despite their instinctive dislike of the nation-state, it continues to dominate their Utopias.


Free Trade International Relation Hedge Fund Issue Area International Government 
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© Per A. Hammarlund 2005

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