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National good

The ethnically homogeneous nation-state is alive and well. It remains the largest feasible focus for both belonging and democracy

By Michael Lind   October 2000

Pity the poor nation-state. It is mentioned only to be abused. The nation-state, we are told, is too small-too tiny to be competitive in the global economy, too feeble to deal on its own with “global issues” like climate change. At the same time, the nation-state is too big. Its centralised bureaucracies are too remote from the real centres of innovation, which are cities and neighbourhoods. National cultures cannot compete with global pop culture or with sub-national ethnic and regional cultures.

As if being the wrong size were not bad enough, the nation-state is often regarded as positively evil. The…

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