Is Globalization leading us to a State-less World?

by Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Has globalization changed the character of international politics in the past two decades? To what extent do various processes of globalization challenge the sovereignty of the state?


The term globalization derived from the word globalize, which refers to the rise of an internationally- integrated network of social, political and economic systems. Globalization is the process of international integration arising from the exchange of world visions, consumer products, ideas, and other aspects of culture. Humans have interacted over long distances for thousands of years. The Silk Route that connected Asia, Africa, and Europe is a good example of the lengths our ancestors went to connect with the rest of the world. Global movement of people, goods, and ideas stretched out considerably in the following centuries. in the early 19th century, the development of new forms of transportation (such as the steamship and railroads) and telecommunications allowed for progressively rapid proportions of global transaction. By 2010 more people in the world had access to mobile phones than basic sanitation. In The Consequences of Modernity, Anthony Giddens uses the following definition: “Globalization can thus be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” globalization has increased the interdependency of states and their political, personal, cultural and economic sectors. In this paper, I argue that globalization may eventually reduce the importance of nation states. “Supranational institutions” such as the European Union, the WTO, the G8 or the International Criminal Court replace national functions to facilitate international agreement.

A great example for the declining importance of nation states through globalization, is the relative decline in US power to globalization, particularly due to the country’s high trade deficit. This led to a global power shift towards Asian states, predominantly China, which set free market forces and achieved tremendous growth rates. As of 2011, the Chinese economy was on track to overtake the United States by 2025.

The European Union (EU) is an monetary and political union of 28 states that are primarily located in Europe. The EU functions through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental discussed decisions by the member states. Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.


The monetary union was founded in 1999 and is currently made of 18 member states that use the euro as their currency. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed an independent role in external relations and defense. It maintains permanent globe-wide diplomatic missions the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8, and the G-20. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.

The EU has developed a single integrated web of a market through a standardized system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development. The EU has a combined population of over 500 million residents, i.e 7.3% of the world population. in 2012 it generated a nominal gross domestic product of 16.584 trillion US dollars, approximately 23% of global nominal GDP which is the largest economy by nominal GDP and the second largest economy by GDP in the world.

The World Trade Organization is an institution whose main purpose is to “supervise and liberalize international trade”. The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and ratify all WTO agreements on accession. The G8 is another supranational institution that is noteworthy. Together the eight countries making up the G8 represent about 14% of the world population, however they represent about 60% of the World and 60% of the gross world product. Seven are in the top 8 nations for military expenditure, and are in possession of almost all of the world’s active nuclear weapons. In 2007, the combined G8 military spending was US$850 billion. This is 72% of the world’s total military expenditures. Four of the G8 members, the United Kingdom, United States, France and Russia, together account for 96–99% of the world’s nuclear weapons

The International Criminal Court is “a permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression”

There are 122 states which are parties to the Statute of the Court. The state include all of South America, most of Europe, most of Oceania and about half the states in Africa. The law of treaties obliges these states to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty until they declare they do not intend to become a party to the treaty. These institution function similar to state authorities except they serve the entire world as a whole instead of just states.



Suzanne Burger in her paper Globalization and Politics says that: “The case for a decline of national power and sovereignty in an age of globalization stands on two legs. One is the notion that the magnitude and velocity of international economic exchanges have eroded the state’s capabilities. The other is the argument that the extension of market relations across national borders diminishes the citizen’s attachment to national authority, leading to a decline in the legitimacy of central governments. Contemporary politics in advanced industrial countries provides much evidence of a growing distrust of elected politicians.”


Globalization is seen as the advantageous spread of liberty and capitalism. Jagdish Bhagwati, a former adviser to the U.N. on globalization, embraces that, “although there are obvious problems with overly rapid development, globalization is a very positive force that lifts countries out of poverty by causing a virtuous economic cycle associated with faster economic growth.”   Democratic globalization has been creating progressive waves in the 21st century. Democratic globalization is an effort towards an institutional system of global democracy that would give world citizens a say in political

organizations. This expects to , circumvent nation-states, corporate oligopolies, political Non-governmental organizations, political cults and different mafias. Advocates of democratic globalization argue that economic expansion and development should be the first stage of democratic globalization, which is to be followed by a stage of restructuring global political institutions.

Dr. Francesco Stipo, Director of the United States Association of the Club of Rome, backs the possibility of a world of unifying nations under a world government, suggesting that it “should reflect the political and economic balances of world nations. A world confederation would not supersede the authority of the State governments but rather complement it, as both the States and the world authority would have power within their sphere of competence”.

The World Wide Web, supranational institutions and free trade are already on their way to creating a conglomerate yet unified global community. Every day states are becoming less important for their sovereignty and more and more important for their ability to contribute to this global village.

Works cited:

Gobalisation and Politics, Burger (2002)

Sen, Amartya (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0375406190.

“China close to have $1 million millionaires”. The Economic Times. 13 April 2011.

Martin Wolf (2004). “Why Globalization Works”. Yale University Press. Retrieved 2013-04-06.

The Consequences of Modernity, Anthony Giddens

Conversi, Daniele (2009) ‘Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism’

Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World. UN Human Development Report, 2004.

Francesco Stipo “World Federalist Manifesto. Guide to Political Globalization”


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