In the end of the Stratfor article “Why So Much Anarchy” Kaplan concludes that
The future of world politics will be about which societies can develop responsive institutions to govern vast geographical space and which cannot. That is the question toward which the present season of anarchy leads.
What makes me disagree, and forces me to think in other directions, is the part “govern vast political space”. I agree that the governance capabilities are key to the future of world politics, but I think that there are two alternative aspects we have to take into account:
- The ongoing, albeit slightly wobbly, mental shift from the geographical definition of a country to a purely economic definition. The countries seems to be on their way of becoming purely large insurance institutions that will be the buffer towards the economic uncertainties a citizen or company might encounter.
- The increasing power of the cities where more than 70-80% of all economic, cultural, social and innovation activities will take place in the future. Cities further seems to be in much better positions to actively develop and manage the uncertainties in the global market than what countries are. We must not forget that the concept of cities, and even some particular cities, have a history of many thousand of years while the model of nation states just dates back to 1648.
I think Kaplan is onto something when he is focusing in on the central issue of governance capability, but I doubt that the Westphalian nation state level is the right level of analysis to understand how the future will develop.