Cooperation around Problems rather than Institutions

It may not be a bad time to wake up to something about our “nation state” world order.

The idea of the nation state evolved out of the terrible wars of religion that we call the “thirty years war”. Those wars were quite terrible because they were fought over a core idea – what is the basis of authority to rule? Catholics claimed that it was conferred through the Catholic Church from God. Protestants claimed that the Catholic Church had no such right or power. Their interpretation of the word of God was superior. Neither could live with the other’s view, so they started killing each other.

The Treaty of Westphaia brought an end to the killing and it was a compromise. Neither side won. Both agreed to leave each other alone,, in effect conferring a right that had not existed before. A nation state had the right to be left alone. Nation states could and then did govern themselves.

Moving forward to our times, there is a bit of a problem here. Nation states as structures are not “problem solving” based. While nation states do make it easier to solve some problems, they are really bad at solving others. For example, they are not very good at promoting innovation as a problem solving tool. that requires networking of a sort that nation states do not do.

Al Wenger brings this out in his post today. We need new types of empowered networks that develop, tryout and and share new ideas for the problems that trouble them.

I agree.  And I would go a step further. These networks need access to financing tools so that they can move faster.


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