A traditional, persistently mercantilist tendency of nation-states has recently prevented them from cooperating sufficiently on urgent macro-ecological problems. The strength of this tendency is due historically to the fact that nation states, and the kind of patriotism which they engender, emerged together with internationally competitive capitalism. The paper puts this fact in the context of a theory of four broad historical stages of economic and political development. After describing succinctly those four stages (and some aspects of transitions between them), we mention some features of 17th- and 18th-century economic theory which were to favour the flourishing of capitalism and of nation states, and then describe some aspects of that flourishing – and of political and economic theories accompanying it – in the USA (which became during the 19th century the preëminent model of a nation state with a saliently growing economy) and in France, Britain and Germany. Then, after calling attention to Gunnar Myrdal’s insight into a nationalist, neo-mercantile aspect of the welfare state, we discuss at some length the late-20th and 21st-century ecologically dangerous trend which is the occasion for writing this paper. In pondering how a macro-ecologically benign kind of patriotism might be fostered, we mention hopefully some evidence from recent research into the historical origins of human reciprocity. We say that some international institutional innovations are called for, and that one such innovation might be the development of a worldwide set of a moderate number (we suggest nine, but the exact number is not essential to the proposal) of regional international political entities.
|Journal||Journal of Social and Political Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|