One is Zimbabwe. The notion that national sovereignty has a value provides a cloak for Mugabe’s brutality, whilst the difficulty of co-ordinating national governments means little is done to stop it.
The other problem is inflation. Many governments claim inflation is an imported problem. And they are right in the sense that global factors seem to be increasing relative to national ones as causes of inflation. This means national monetary policy is less able to control inflation.
This raises the question. Could it be that nation states are just too small to solve some important problems? They are not big enough to solve some coordination problems, or to restrain tyrants, or to internalize externalities - think of climate change.
And yet, in other senses they are too big. The Economist reports that Americans are increasingly choosing to live with like-minded people, suggesting nation states aren’t providing a sense of fraternity and unity. Not a day passes without yet more evidence that national governments display the incompetence arising from diseconomies of scale. And it’s a cliché that people are alienated from national politics or that national provision of public services is unresponsive to individual needs.
So, here are my questions. What are the problems which are best solved by national governments rather than global government or smaller-scale authorities (and the individual is, of course, a very important small-scale authority)? What should be the criteria we use for answering that question? If nation states did not exist, would we these days feel a pressing need to invent them?