Has Globalization reinforced or undermined the legitimacy of the nation-state?
Globalisation is a phenomenon that has been increasingly used in the lexicon since the latter half of the 1980’s, achieving widespread and common currency amongst politicians, political analysts, academics, economists, the media, business, trade and finance. The term has become synonymous with the “global village” concept, where nations and states are drawn closer together; where economic, political and cultural spheres extend across the world’s major regions and continents. A world where development in one part of the globe will impact life in another part of the globe. The polemic surrounding the process of globalization has hitherto been a highly
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Globalization poses three important challenges to the nation-state. The first and the most visibly apparent is the economic challenge of globalization in undermining the legitimacy of nation-states; where the nation-state’s capacity to control huge economic and financial flows in the global market economy has been severely reduced. There is thus a decrease in legislative ability and sovereign control over markets within the state. Holton (1998) states that “flows of investment, technology, communications, and profit are the most striking symptom of global challenge to the nation-state”. The nation-state is “sidelined by world market forces which are stronger than even the most powerful states” (Hirst and Thompson, 1996). The problem that confronts states is ceding sovereign control, whilst being subjected to increasing control from global organizations and global trends transcending and perhaps ultimately replacing the nation-state as the primary actors of international organization. Oran Young identifies this as “a retreat from the postulate of the state as the fundamental unit of world politics” (Young in McGrew and Lewis, 1992). The financial and banking crises post 2007 have exposed the weaknesses inherent in individual states having to deal with and almost being overwhelmed by the