Nations: what are they for? It would be comforting to imagine that they’re organised for the benefit and succour of their peoples, but that seems naïve, at best. Every border, delivering apparent unity within, creates a divide from those without; an “us and them”. Much time and effort is expended seeking to reinforce ideas of nationhood; to make us feel we “belong”. The cynic in me says, this is not a charitable endeavour: if folk are committing resource to persuade me I am part of a nation, they must be expecting some return on their investment.
When I was a trade unionist, we were accused of “holding the country to ransom”. When a business moves some or all of its operations overseas, no-one mentions “ransom”, but I suspect folk are pleased with the downward pressure on my wages. Isn’t economics wonderful?
There’s much talk of regime change in the air. We can’t have governments doing as they please: not good for business. I guess you can always find some disgruntled or ambitious souls who are willing to stage a coup or glorious revolution (depending on which side of the fence you sit). History is littered with examples: William of Orange, Pinochet, Ne Win, Pol Pot, &c. If your fortune is increased, it’s a popular uprising. It’s a “rogue state” until your puppet is in charge.
The arms industry is worth around $1.5 trillion yearly. It’s hard to get your head round a number that large. I’m told this represents about 3% of world G.D.P. Strife is good for business. Having an “us and them” is a good starting point. Means to motivate the cannon fodder are a must. Patriotism and religion are oft employed.
Sam Johnson said “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” I doubt Mr. Johnson was prescribing no nations (don’t forget: he was English!). Is there a better way to organise the world?