Nations and States

The Future of Nation-States

The fact that increasing numbers of people around the world speak the same language demonstrates the transnational trend. English has become something of an international language, but other languages (such as French, Chinese, and Russian) are also spoken by many around the world. Overall, the total number of languages spoken is decreasing, while the total number of speakers of certain dominant languages is increasing.

Devolution

The second trend that marks the recession of nation-states concerns the increase in political power being given to local governments, sometimes to the point of autonomy. This trend is sometimes called devolution because states are said to devolve power back to local governments. In the United Kingdom, for example, Scotland has been granted a great deal of autonomy, as has Catalonia in Spain. Should this trend continue, local governments would replace national or central governments.

The table below summarizes the trends of globalization and devolution.

 
GLOBALIZATION AND DEVOLUTION TRENDS

Globalization

Devolution

Power flowsOutward, away from the stateInward, down from the central government
Power belongs to International organizations and transnational governmentsRegional and local governments
Power is lost by The state The central government
Sometimes known asTransnationalismSubnationalism
ExamplesThe European Union, the United Nations, the World Trade OrganizationNew Federalism in the United States, increased Scottish autonomy in the United Kingdom, in-creased study of local and regional languages (such as Breton in France)