POLI 212 Lecture Notes - Irish Question, Comparative Advantage
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FEBRUARY 13, 2012:
Nation state= a political unit where the boundaries of state and nation overlap and
A nation state is more integrated and more solidary than a multinational state
(where there are multiple nations living within a single state.) With integration and
solidary you get more stable political institutions. The notion is that a multinational
state is likely to be too divided to deliver as much as a nation-state.
The 19th century is when the national state emerged as an ideal, and nationalism
rose. The age of nationalism is very important for late state developers because the
process of integration that forms Italy and Germany has a lot to do with nationalism.
Advantages of the nation-state: It would have a kind of comparative advantage in
European interstate society. It would have the kind of domestic political and social
capability that would make state self-preservation easier in European inter-state
There is a common culture, shared cultural identity that characterized the
population. Nationalism is often organized around a language or distinctive
Nation-state in mid-19th century Europe: a question about states arises. How many
nation states should there be?
The 19th century, the optimal size of states should be relatively large. What is the
modal size of states? Larger is better in the middle 19th century because of the
consequences of inter-state anarchy (war is an option in inter-state society, so it’s
better to be part of something large for state protection). The modal states should
be large also because of economics→ there isn’t much free trade at this time, and
that means they must depend for trade within state borders. In economic terms it is
more efficient to be part of a larger trading unit defined by state borders.
These states ideally are to be nation states.
In the 1950s and 1960s (post-war), the state incentives have changed. Two features
of the post war period are that many called it “the long peace” because war is no
longer an option, and free trade dominates protectionism. For the politics of multi-
national states, these changes in incentives have created reasons for sub-state
nations to image controlling a state of their own (ex. In a case like Great Britain→
Scotland is currently debating a referendum on independence, which it never would
have done in the past.)
What we see now in Europe is a politicization of territory in the form of regional
movement and minority nationalism, which are a response to changing structural
Britain has been a multi-national state from the moment of formation.
Great Britain and France: the early state formers.
They are both unitary states of different types. The British state is a composite state
or a union state, and is also a state which is dependent on a certain policy or attitude
to cultural issues in its periphery. A degree of political accommodation is built into
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