City-states and empires

My latest post at Pieria looks at the future of the nation state:
 "At the recent conference on The Future of Cities hosted by The Economist, Benjamin Barber of City University argued that nation states would become redundant, replaced by a global network of co-operating (and competing) cities. "Even under good leadership, states will become increasingly dysfunctional", he declared. And he explained that that this was because "we live in an interdependent world of global cross-border challenges":
  • global warming and climate change
  • terrorism and war - increasingly cross-border
  • global pandemics - public health is becoming a global concern
  • immigration
  • technology
For Barber, the problem is that nation states are not capable of tackling these global cross-border challenges. This is not caused by poor leadership, but the "inherent limitations"of territorial sovereignty. Barber sees a return of the "city-states" of medieval times, reinvented in 21st-century form. The future lies not with sovereign states, or even groupings of states such as the European Union, but with mega-cities."
Will it be replaced by a global network of mega-cities, as Benjamin Barber thinks? Will it be superseded by supranational groupings such as the EU, as Willem Buiter thinks? Or will we continue to muddle along with a mixture of all three? Read on here.


  1. Replies
    1. Ha. Actually the Hanseatic League was discussed by the panellists after Barber's presentation.

  2. Apologies for an off topic suggestion, not sure where to put it.

    Frances, if you're short of inspiration of what to write about, would it be possible for you to write about when money is destroyed- when it is paid as taxes, or when a debt to a lending institution is repaid, or other?

    1. Hi Douglas,

      There does seem to be a fair degree of confusion about this. It's not easy to destroy money, actually - it tends to morph into something else rather than actually dying. So I will write about it.

  3. thank you for sharing. This was a very useful information for me

  4. The future lies not with sovereign states, or even groupings of states


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