Five stages of grief in the death of the nation-state

Excerpted from John Bunzl:

“As a consequence of destructive international competition, governments are severely restricted in the policies they can put forward and implement. Accordingly, we now have governments which are effectively powerless in the face of global markets and globalised money.

The end result is that government, as it currently exists, is dying.

The “death” of the nation-state is not a finality but actually a breakthrough to a new level; that level being some form of bottom-up, people-centred global governance such as Simpol. As such, the lesson is not that we must accept present injustices, etc – quite the contrary! It is that we must accept the need for global governance in order to solve those injustices!

The grieving process is very apt, particularly for each of us personally:

Denial: This is broadly the current phase. Most people still believe interventions by national governments or protest by NGOs or CSR or whatnot can solve our global problems. But they can’t (mainly because they fail to take destructive international competition into account). It is precisely these beliefs most people need to let go of.

Anger: This is the stage about to come. Things are only going to get worse and existing efforts by NGOs and governments, CSR, and all the other thousands of efforts short of global governance are going to fail (in my view). When they do, people will get angry; they’ll resort to street protest and insurrection.

Bargaining: There will be attempts to hang on to the nation-state system in its current form; trying to get away with accomodations that fall short of a proper global agreement that covers multiple issues; i.e. binding global governance. (In some ways that is what present efforts at international treaty-making are – futile bargains which attempt to make the nation-state system work for the good of all, when it simply can’t).

Depression: In this context, rather than depression, other models (eg. Scott Peck’s ‘community building process’) describe this stage as ‘emptiness’; as a stage when we empty ourselves of our old pre-conceptions, and open ourselves to what is to come. We take the scary but necessary bungee jump in which we let go of all that. But this, we will find, takes us not down to the depths of depression, but to the new, higher level of community; to the realisation that we are all one and need a form of global governance that expresses that.

Acceptance: This is the action phase. Where we feel compelled to put the new level into action; to make it a living reality.”