In one of my earlier posts I had compared the views of Hitler and Nehru on nation state. Nehru, in particular, talks about how the concept of nation is not really an eternal one and is a rather recent phenomenon (The time scale on which he talked would keep the phenomenon recent even today, so many years after the book and even Nehru). So, the idea is that nation is just one another organization that has evolved in the history of human race. Several sections of the society today make lots of hue and cry about the increasing power of corporations. That the corporations are growing larger than several countries when their revenue is compared with nation’s GDP, what that would mean for the sovereignty of nations, for the undeveloped regions, for the poor, for the unprivileged, etc. That corporations would replace nations.
What is the problem that would particularly deepen, if tomorrow the role of nations is indeed taken over by the companies? A world, where for the individuals there would affiliation to the corporates instead of the nations. Probably these affiliations would be more flexible than that of nations. Probably people will be more mobile. How would that matter really? So many people are anyway so mobile in this world. People have been mobile in the past (when they went to distant lands for trade, loot or learning); people are mobile today (when so many people of Indian origin are US citizens). May be the mobility won’t be as high as we would like to decipher from the turnover rate in the companies today. But even that’s okay. Human race has lived in and is still living under enough restrictions in mobility (yeah – the fear of a distant land, the robbers on the way, the poor means of commuting in the old days and those long queues outside visa offices today!). Either way, we are not likely to see anything that would be too much out of way.
What about the welfare of people? Poor, minority, disabled, underprivileged, mentally challenged, senior citizens etc? What has been there about them for most part of the history of nations anyway? Even in the nations, the concept of equality has taken a long, long time to even get accepted in principle. In practice, even till today, nations are not completely successful anyway. Same about the concept of welfare state. The concept, itself, does not seem to have been obvious to the nations in most parts of the world, for a larger portion of the history. Poor has been made poorer, disabled and challenged and old people have always faced problems and the situation, even today, is far from being perfect. Looking at the corporations, in a similar way, the notion of corporate social responsibility etc. is coming up. This will take a shape, which, most likely, would not be worse off than what is there today and might only be better.
This kind of a transformation would be nothing unusual if we look at long enough a time frame for reference. So, are we witnessing the initial stages of a slow, but steady change that human social and economic organizations are going through?