The Eclipse of the State? Reflections on Stateness in an Era of Globalization

The economic logic of the current international economy does not predict the "eclipse of the state." Economic globalization does restrict state power, but transnational capital needs capable states as much or more than does domestically oriented business. National success in the current global political economy has been associated not with minimal states but with states that are capable, active, and engaged. Pressure for eclipse flows from the conjunction between transnational economic forces and the political hegemony of an Anglo-American ideology that, in J. P. Nettl's words, "simply leaves no room for any valid notion of the state." Even this combination of economic and political pressure is unlikely to eclipse the state, but it is likely to put public institutions on the defensive, eclipsing any possibility of the "embedded liberalism" described by John Ruggie. A "leaner, meaner" state is the likely outcome. The possibility of a more progressive alternative outcome would depend in part on whether current zero-sum visions of the relation between the state and civil society can be replaced by a more synergistic view.