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The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies Paperback – May 15, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Nations are becoming obsolete from an economic standpoint, declares Tokyo-based business consultant Ohmae (The Borderless World). He argues that the traditional nation-state, now beholden to domestic special interests, its government "an enemy of the public at large," has become an inefficient, even impossible, business unit in the new global economy. Instead of a world order based on discrete, independent nations, Ohmae envisions autonomous networks of what he calls "region states"?geographically linked economic zones that forge productive ties with the global marketplace by putting the right policies, information technology and infrastructure in place. Examples of emerging region states cited here are San Diego/Tijuana; Hong Kong and southern China; and northern Italy and the Rhine-Alps region of France. Although Ohmae overstates his case, his challenging primer gives managers, economists, politicians and policymakers new ways to think about global economic problems and opportunities.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ohmae, a former McKinsey & Company senior partner, has touted the global economy in The Borderless World (1990) and Beyond National Borders (1987). His new book spells out more specifically Ohmae's conviction that the nation state and the global economy cannot comfortably coexist. National boundaries are too porous, he argues, to control the flows of communication, corporations, customers, capital, and currencies, and most national governments are too focused on distributing wealth to be effective in creating it. Ohmae sees "region states" --natural economic zones of 5 to 20 million affluent residents, such as Hong Kong and contiguous areas of China, San Diego, and Tijuana or Silicon Valley--stepping into this vacuum, building links with the global economy independent of the nations that theoretically control them. For Ohmae, these changes raise practical, not ideological, issues: nation states should decentralize power and seek to serve as catalysts for the growth of region states, because this is the only sort of growth the global economy is likely to support. The usual free-market leap of faith lies at the heart of Ohmae's argument, but his ideas are provocative enough to appeal to readers struggling to understand the consequences of globalization. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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He suggests that the economic ideas of economist J.M. Keynes are obsolete and the more modern writings of Paul Krugman are mistaken because of nation state orientation. He concentrates on Japan, which characterizes as hardening of economic arteries with economic areas slowed by aid from Tokyo as central governments follow a policy of taking from successful areas to prop up failures.
He suggests that only viable government organization is a federation. (The USA rejected the idea in 1865 and seems to be moving towards centralization.) Maybe that's Ohmae's point and why he concentrates on Japan. He doesn't clarify the roles of EU and NAFTA are not clear. USA has tried and failed to accommodate global trends with deregulation.
The book ends with accounts of economic success in Singapore and New Zealand. Appendix A looks like a very useful article showing that interest rates and inflation are secondary to FX rates. Unfortunately, it may be that it can only be understood by Ohmae and George Soros.
The book is very convincing and should be updated. Now in 2013 it seems that we are progressing in the direction predicted by Ohmae although national states will continue to exert influence, or is it restrictions, in the foreseeable future.
The nation state might last through the end of this lifetime (though unlikely longer than that), but it is less and less an economic entity, rather a final vestige of nationalistic sentiments, the modern and future "opium of the masses." Ohmae reminds us that terms like GDP and GNP are outdated and deserve reconsideration, considering that every large nation state has successful enterprises spaced out among uncompetitive industries and unproductive locales. Gross "Regional" Product might be a more accurate yardstick.
A good companion book to this one might be "Jihad vs. McWorld" by Benjamin Barber. That book emphasises that the so-called Transnational Corporations might as well be called anti-national corporations. Consumers scarcely know or care where the banks and manufacturers who provide them with goods and services call home, and the corporations care even less about the nationality of their customers, beyond the point that it might provide information about their purchasing habits.