Tribalism may replace nationalism
Picture a world in the next century organized not around nation-states but
around a new form of tribes sharing the same culture and values. It's a
world where you pledge allegiance not to a republic, but to a clan.
That possibility isn't too far-fetched when you take the current state of
our fracturing world and overlay new information technologies and the new
telecommunications infrastructure. Here's how it conceivably could play
This melting-pot business is not working out. America no longer seems able
to meld all the various peoples within its borders into one harmonious
whole. As the years go by, Americans seem to identify less with their nation
and more with their various subgroups based on ethnicity, religion or race.
The rest of the world, now that the Cold War is over, is resuming its
long-simmering ethnic rivalries. Nations from the former Soviet Union to
Yugoslavia have broken apart into smaller nations based primarily on
ethnicity or religion.
Separatist factions are mounting serious challenges to
nations from Canada to Spain to India.
The idea of the large nation-state, grouping people together within
geographic boundaries, does not seem to work anymore. We have
organized that way for several centuries, but it's usefulness may be running
out. People seem to identify more with those sharing a common culture or
holding similar values.
People may rely on 'tribes' for education, security
Digital technologies can enhance -- or, depending on your perspective,
exacerbate -- such tendencies. They could allow people to connect with
people more like themselves regardless of where they live in the world. And,
ultimately, they could allow people to formally organize themselves that way.
Consider a world of the next century along the lines sketched out by Neal
Stephenson in his new science-fiction book, '...