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The Globalization Reader, 5th Edition by John Boli, Frank J. Lechner

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Introduction

The topic of this part is political globalization, in particular the implications of globalization for the nation-state. In a world made up of powerful and highly stable nation-states, political globalization might seem like a contradiction in terms. A state (more commonly called “government” in the United States) is the sovereign authority in a specified territory, with the right to use force both to maintain internal order and to defend its territory against aggression. Sovereignty, in turn, implies that the state is the ultimate authority in its territory, exercising legal jurisdiction over its citizens and the groups and organizations they form in the conduct of daily life. The sovereign state is not subject to any higher authority; no state has the right to expect compliance from any other state, and no all-encompassing world state has emerged with authority over all national states. Sometimes the United Nations is described as the potential nucleus of a world state, but it has no compelling authority over its member states and it relies entirely on the action of its members to enforce compliance with its resolutions and the sanctions it imposes on misbehaving states.

In times past, world maps contained many different kinds of political unit, from small dukedoms and principalities to large empires ruled by powerful states. Nearly all of the small units have been absorbed in larger nation-states, and all but a few of the colonies held by former imperial powers ...

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