Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nation States

To me, it seems apparent that the nation states are approaching the end of their "good before" period. The NSA scandal in the United States is just the tip of a huge iceberg. 

How could democratically formed governments be such monsters? Because they are just showing their true nature. Why do we need nuclear arsenal at all? The MAD (mutually assured destruction) strategy is trivially "mad", as it becomes increasingly difficult to control nuclear weapons in a reliable way (just think of the "rogue" states and potential nuclear terrorists).

For me, it seems increasingly difficult to justify the brutality (symbolized in a newly coined word "privicide") of nation states, just in the name of social contract theories. Nay, I am not advocating anarchy. That would be too trivial. I am just pointing out that nation states are approaching the infamous status of "religion" (sensu Richard Dawkins) nowadays.


Oli M. said...

Hi Ken, I read this several months ago, but a connection just came to mind to me--the rising absolute power of the state to cause harm reminds me of the recent Taleb/Pinker debate. In response to Pinker's talk about a decline in violence, Taleb says that it decrease in probability does not mean an increase in expectation (net effect). More power concentrated increasingly in the hands of fewer parties, sets the stage for infrequent but big, big incidents. Nuclear arms is just one potential culprit. Technology can further multiply this effect.

The biases elucidated by Prospect Theory are at work in the minds of the consenting public and in policy-makers. In today's policy world, it's unacceptable to make small tradeoffs to avoid rare but very, very large problems, with a few exceptions.

Combine this with tendency for any institution to act to preserve itself above all else...

Takuro HARADA said...

Hello, Mogi-san.

I think that people in this democratic state need the real "religion" that fits to them now.

While Buddhists observe the universe as a entity of whole thing (including us), people in Christian society tend to think that there are two sides in this world: Good and evil.

I can't tell which view is better, yet being a monster is an inevitable aspect of nations and individuals.


Takuro Harada