The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century

The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century

The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century

The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century

Synopsis

This book explains what Rosecrance (political science, UCLA) foresees international relations and commerce will look like in the coming century. He depicts a world of "head" states, that use their citizens' intellectual powers to create products and manage services, and "body" states, that manufacture goods. He suggests that the great powers of the next centuries will be virtual states, not necessarily wealthy in land or resources, but powerful in using managerial, financial, and creative skills to control assets elsewhere.

Excerpt

Once again the world's path appears troubled and unclear. Growth in the center of the world economy contrasts with poverty on the fringe; peace between major nations is offset by internal conflicts and strife on the periphery; diplomatic failures in the Balkans and Afghanistan belie gains in East Asia and Latin America. There would appear to be no consistent trend in international relationships; indeed,the central tendency often is lost in the noise of the day's events.

This book asserts that, despite retrogressions that capture our attention, the world is making steady progress toward peace and economic security. It argues that as factors of labor, capital, and information triumph over the old factor of land, nations no longer need and in time will not covet additional territory. Instead they can concentrate on the most remunerative factors of production: high-level manufacturing and services, which depend most strongly on a highly trained labor force.

In the past, material forces were dominant in national growth, prestige, and power; now products of the mind take precedence. Nations can transfer most of their material production thousands of miles away, centering their attention on research and development and product design at home. The result is a new and productive partnership between "head" nations, which design products, and "body" nations, which manufacture them. Despite its apparent resemblance to territorial dominion in the past, however, the relationship between designing and producing nations does not entail a new imperialism of north over south. Body nations rapidly develop new ganglia that in time create heads of their own, as South Korea has done. Producing countries can . . .

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