Khanna: End of the Nation-State?

Are super-cities and other autonomous regions the future?

A quick scan across the world reveals that where growth and innovation have been most successful, a hybrid public-private, domestic-foreign nexus lies beneath the miracle. These aren’t states; they’re “para-states” — or, in one common parlance, “special economic zones.”
Across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, hundreds of such zones have sprung up in recent decades. In 1980, Shenzhen became China’s first; now they blanket China, which has become the world’s second largest economy. Via End of the Nation-State?


2 thoughts on “Khanna: End of the Nation-State?”

  1. I was actually thinking about this earlier today as I was musing over the current state of our government. The United States is such a huge country, that policy that is good for some parts of the country is not necessarily good for other parts of the country. As I was thinking about a solution for the division and deadlock of the government, the only solution I could think of was division of the country into smaller geographic areas with similar desires and needs. I doubt that cities will start breaking off from the United States, but economically it would make a lot of sense. Texas has an incredibly strong economy, if they became completely autonomous, they would probably be unstoppable. Right now, if Texas were a sovereign nation, they would have the 14th strongest economy in the world. Which begs the question, why are they still part of the US, with its inoperable government and financial roller coaster?

  2. This is such an interesting concept, and it makes me think of how Florence was considered a city-state back in the day. We tend to think of the world in terms of countries and states because that’s just how we divide up geographical regions. But to think that the future is shaping itself around strong economic regions, in some cases independent from its mother nation, does create an option for a different kind of method of dividing up the world, changing the way we think of the world we live in. It is true that some “super cities” or para-states have “outgrown” the states they find themselves located in, and would likely be able to financially prosper independently of their mother state, yet I do not think that an abrupt split-off is likely any time soon. Being a sovereign entity requires more than simply financial stability (a big enough workforce and population, a bureaucratic system, governance, a cultural distinction from the country it split off from, infrastructure, to name a few) and some of those things are provided by the state.

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