Thursday, June 07, 2007

Nation States

Sidane in a comment in response to this post has raised an important point of nation states and how it impedes progress.
In response to this comment, I submit that the notion of a nation state creates a false sense of identity when the nation is culturally heterogenous like in the case of India. In such a case, national pride even when rigorously taught can easily be dampened or forgotten as regional pride and clannish behaviour takes precedence. Isn't this the case with India too? Actually, I think its a feature of all countries with a heterogenous cultural fabric. It is this proclivity to regionalism (states, county, village, tribe) and its attendant suspiscion and insecurity that impedes progress as it impedes cooperation, trade and exchange of ideas. This also causes one clan, tribe, region to progress at the expense of another thus contributing to unequal distribution of the fruits of progress. In countries where the cultural fabric is homogenous (most european countries), national pride is highly integrated into their identity as a people and hence comes across more strongly. The lack of petty regionalism sets up societies in which all equality is a basic tenet and all its people have equal access to opportunites (socialist states try to ensure equality of outcome and thus fail). Such societies do not hold back progress and the distribution of the returns of progress are also likely to be on equitable terms.

2 comments:

Siddharth said...

I am now commenting on a post which you wrote to a comment of mine on another post of yours. Its just like in the movies :)

I liked your points on regionalism and how it parasites on nationalism. But I still feel we will see in our lifetime itself the nation state becoming a token identity. It will exist on passports. It will exist in peoples' minds alright because the human is scared of being rootless. He needs a sense of identity to back him up, and that insecurity may take some more time to die. But the time of the nation state is definitely up. Europe, as through most of history, is leading the world here with the concept of EU (which may have been created for different reasons altogether)

Dilip, dont u also think the concept of money, which served humanity so well for all these millenia, is now an impediment to the relentless march of progress?

Welcome back, and dont dare take any more breaks, planned or otherwise :)

EmperorFrost said...

you have raised some thought provoking points. I will try to put together my thoughts in a post sometime soon.