"We have the best brand on earth: the Obama brand. Our possibilities are endless." Desiree Rogers, White House Brand Guru.The nation-state, as an organizational form that seized control of the world from the starting gates at the treaties of Westphalia, is losing power across the board -- due to the rise of a much larger, faster, complex, and powerful global system. The result has been a hollowing out of the nation-state through privatization, corruption, and outright abdication (of responsibility). With each passing year, less of the historical nation-state is left. A process accelerated by the financial demise caused by boondoggles from foreign military adventures to propping up massive global subsystems when they get into trouble.
Despite this trend, the nation-state isn't going away. It still plays a role in the growing global ecosystem, and nothing has risen to displace it (global ideological homogeneity of nation-state governance dictates this). It will merely adapt to the evolving niche it is relegated to. So, what does the nation-state look like in its residual and adapted form?
Naomi Klein has some excellent analysis of what it becomes. It's a very good read, and if you disregard her dated nostalgia for populist movements and progressive government reform -- that legacy thinking is utterly useless, as a strategy for success, given the rise of a dominant and sovereign global system that doesn't have any governing body to appeal to -- the article provides a very incisive analysis of how the nation-state survives after tangible power is gone.
Simply, the nation-state becomes a brand.
More specifically, it becomes a lifestyle brand, or worse, a lifestyle brand centered on a single person. All of its functions outside of the strategic communications (public relations, information operations, etc.) required to support and extend it are outsourced, auctioned off, or abdicated.
So where does that leave you as an individual or a family? You can buy into that brand and get little except a name emblazoned on a t-shirt, since that brand doesn't have the capability to really defend your interests or help you succeed in a harsh/unstable global system. The other option is to build something new. A new resilient tribe to provide you with a real, tangible future that enables you to thrive.