Archive for the ‘POPULATION AND MIGRATION’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE RELATIVELY SHORT HISTORY OF THE MODERN NATION-STATE – MOST OF HUMAN HISTORY WAS DOMINATED BY POLYGLOT EMPIRES AND KINGDOMS – EARLY NATIONALISM PRODUCED DREADFUL RESULTS – A SITUATION IN AMERICA WITH UNMISTAKABLE FASCIST OVERTONES – DESPITE SETBACKS, LONG-TERM FUTURE OF “GLOBALISM” IS BRIGHT – UNAVOIDABLE POPULATION CHANGES AND MIGRATION COMING – ALL ESTABLISHED NATION-STATES ARE GOING TO LOOK AND SOUND DIFFERENT IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY GUILLAUME DUROCHER IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“Towards Expat Nationalism

“Technological and Psychological Factors for the Rise and Decline of the Nation-State”

 

It is good to keep in mind that the nation-state as we know it has no long history.

It is largely a creation of the 19th century. Many of the most familiar nations in Europe, for example, were created in that period – as Germany or Italy.

For most of history, we have had empires and kingdoms, large entities incorporating many kinds of people, such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Holy Roman Empire.

For a while, extreme nationalists demanded that a given nation-state was for people of a certain ethnic identity, speaking a certain language, maybe even having a certain look and religion. This perhaps reflected lingering attitudes and hostilities from having rebelled against an old declining multi-national imperial group.

That notion, taken to its extreme, assisted ultimately in the birth of monstrosities such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

For the most part, the advanced world has moved well beyond that narrow and dangerous concept.

Israel, of course, is one of the last in the advanced world we hear still talking that way, which is a source of concern for all liberal-minded people.

The United States right now is something of an exception. There are unquestionably fascist tones in America’s contemporary political rhetoric. It is really odd when you think about it, the country being based on immigration and having been a “melting pot.”

But it has long been an undercurrent in America. The Nazi Bund was a pretty large movement in America, for example. The great journalist and writer, William L. Shirer, said once that he thought America might be the first country to go fascist voluntarily. Of course, organizations like the Klu Klux Klan and various extreme militia groups have long histories. As do fraternal organizations whose membership requires being a descendant from some early group.

Just not that many years ago, a Spanish-speaking person did a translation of America’s national anthem, and a recording of it became popular. Instead of being proud about it, certain groups of Americans became furious. There were ugly words hurled around. Even a descendent of Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the “poem” in 1814 that would provide the words of the anthem, got quite huffy about anyone daring to sing it in Spanish. Ironically, as few Americans realize, the music to the anthem came from an old English drinking song.

America is a big ship, and any big turns take a while to make. It is not only a big ship, but one whose controls are difficult to operate. It tends to do only ‘full steam ahead.”

America also has had a good streak of arrogance and self-importance since its heydays of the 1950s when it literally was king of the planet. Its assumption of what President Putin rightly calls “exceptionalism” does fit nicely with attitudes around extreme patriotism and xenophobia.

I think the conflict between Americans with fascist tones in their speech and others is not only just one more division in a country which has always been divided, in one way or another from its very beginning, but it reflects difference in ancestry of the population, as Northern Europeans versus Southern Europeans or Latins.

There can be no question that Trump represents those people. They make up a large part of his political base because he feeds them what they want to hear, often barely disguised hatreds and contempt for foreigners and for Americans who look different. Migrants of all kinds. Muslims. Hispanics. “Shithole countries” (his exact words) in general.

As far as talk of globalism goes, it is a very confused subject, the word almost taking on different meanings with different speakers.

Here are some fundamental realities that will determine the future of “globalism.”

The growth of international trade has been an immense benefit for many decades. The United States’ golden days of the postwar period were the result of it being a great supplier of goods to all corners of the earth. It was the only undamaged major nation, and it had invested hugely for war production.

As other nations recovered and changed and made brand new investments, the United States just naturally lost its special place. It also was encumbered by its own myths about itself. When its uniquely blessed period of opportunity in the world began to fade, those myths only dragged on its ability to adjust and re-invest and compete in a changing world. Americans at all levels of society really did believe they were the best at what they did.

I think Japan’s re-emergence was the first great shock to the American ego, but there have been others since, and the overwhelmingly big one has been the miraculous rise of China, something in fact, given China’s remarkable history, which should have been predictable. But you just don’t think clearly when you believe yourself indispensable to the world.

So, today, America is reduced to dishonest and dangerous tactics of every description to “re-claim” what it foolishly believes is its and its alone, the right to be number one in almost everything. Clearly, only a kind of religious or mystical belief could engender such an expectation.  Never mind about getting down to hard work and investing to be more competitive, investing in everything from better schools to national infrastructure. And better government, too. No, we’re Americans, we’re entitled.

Large trading blocs, like the EU and others, are powerful mechanisms for increased prosperity. They may have their temporary ups and downs, but they are not going away simply because the basic economic principles underlying them are real and powerful.

Advances in technology will only continue to make international trade easier and less costly, and they will do so at an increasing rate of change.

With growing international trade, there is a growing need for international organizations to support, protect, and govern with agreed rules. That, too, is not going away, despite the bellowing of people like Trump. Such organizations are suffering right now, but they will return with strength simply because they are genuinely needed.

Every bit of trade destroyed, as with Trump’s illegal sanctions and arbitrary tariffs and threats, makes the world a poorer place than it need be. That’s basic economic science. Those who argue with scientific principles are only howling and spitting against the wind. They will not be able to sustain their destructive effort for too long, and for that we should all be glad.

As far as population and migration go, every advanced country has arrived at a point where births minus deaths cannot sustain population. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon called demographic transition. From that point, only in-migration can sustain or increase population. With absolutely no in-migration, such a nation would actually see its population shrinking, and with no end to it.

The average number of live births a woman is expected to have over her reproductive life in any given society is called the fertility rate.

Advanced countries today have fertility rates on the order of 1.5 or so. Without in-migration, a fertility rate of 2.1 is required just to sustain a population, but you will not find that in any advanced nation. There are many reasons for that, including, importantly, young modern women pursuing rewarding careers.

So, in-migration must be a part of every healthy society in the future, and this necessarily means different kinds of people arriving on your shores.

That, too, is not something new. In the distant past, it took the form of mass migrations and conquests and was not driven by demographic change. In an old familiar society like Britain, one whose people have an image we all enjoy and assume to be enduring, we actually have a history of Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Norman French, and others creating the hybrid people we know.

Today, further change is underway in Britain as many people from former parts of the British Empire have established themselves there. And more migrants still will be needed since Britain’s fertility rate is too low to replace its population.

There’s just no avoiding the fact that in all traditional established states the future is going to look and sound different than what we have been used to.