Networked-States: The Transition Away From The Nation-State

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6 min read

There is some discussion starting to arise from those who look at what is taking place. Many who understand what blockchain are realizing how the transition away from the Nation-State is underway. It is a process that will take many decades yet is beginning to become evident.

In fact, it did not start with the introduction of Bitcoin 12 years ago. This is something that began many decades ago, without most of us realizing it.

Here we will investigate what happened and how things are rapidly changing. We are facing the likelihood that the *Nation-State as a governance entry is completely eradicated by the end of this century.

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There is little doubt the impact of these systems in our lives. For the past few hundred years, we saw the world transition to this governance model. The world was divided up with imaginary lines drawn. This determines what system people operate under.

As we can see, it was designed in the physical world. There was no digital back when all this was unfolding. Thus, institutions were material in nature.

Governments, while real but not physical, did reside in buildings. They established a monetary system which was something people could hold. Banks were required to store (and protect) the physical assets. Police physically patrolled areas to keep everyone in line. Jobs were done in person, providing some type of physical labor.

Disputes that were not settled diplomatically escalated to physical confrontations. For much of the last few hundred years, this was usually a fight over physical land. We saw both sides lining up to fight each other. It was all in keeping with the times.

Over the years the power grew. After all, they did have the guns and jails (more physical items). Those who strayed outside the approved code of conduct often found themselves entering this institution. Of course, that is if they were lucky. Often, termination was an option regularly used.

No matter what the system of governance, Nation-States only became more powerful. They also took on a life of their own. There was nothing to rival them, thus change, if any, was to come from within. What is the saying about a leopard and its spots.

Few of these institutions, over the centuries, willingly relinquished power. Instead, they just grew in scope, becoming more, in the view of many, abusive. It is certainly hard to argue against this point with the events going on today.


Roughly 40 years ago, we saw a massive change with the introduction of the digital world. While archaic at that time, it moved very quickly. The introduction of the personal computer changed the world. It was, however, only a preview of what was to come.

By the end of the century, the Internet was staging an invasion. Here again, we see something that was going unnoticed yet did not take long to make a major impact.

Probably the first Networked-State was Microsoft. This was loose in form since it was still operating in a non-networked environment. The digital nature of what it was involved in allowed it to expand at an unprecedented rate.

This was quickly followed up by the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Today, it is not hard to see how the power of the later rivals most, if not all governments. The estimated monthly user base is larger than the populations of the two biggest nations combined.

For many people, a change in the terms of service from an entity like Facebook affects them more than the passage of a bill from their government. What is known is the impact is immediate.

Look at what happens when one of the major social media companies bans an account. If that was used for business, it is done. This is why so many beg to get their accounts back. The Networked-State is very powerful in their lives.

The Pace Of Change

We see how the transition that was done so far took place in only a few decades. This is remarkable when we consider the fight to establish the Nation-State occurred over centuries. There were many battles to wrestle control out of the hands of the Church and different monarchies. The feudal state did not die rapidly.

The Nation-State seems impossible to topple. It is large, ever present, and, quite frankly, scary. This is not an entity that people typically want to cross.

However, there is a challenge. Nation-States are also slow and inefficient. The Networked-State operates at a much faster pace. Also, the Nation-State is ill-equipped to operate in the digital realm. It was designed in (and for) the physical world. In short, it is truly a fish out of water.

Few believe this to be the case. When we have hundreds of years of history, it is difficult to buy into transition. Nevertheless, if we just look at the smugness of Mark Zuckerberg when testifying in front of Congress we gain some insight. While he is that way with most, the fact that he was being interrogated by people who were completely clueless is very telling.

In fact, parody often points out the reality of what is taking place.

Here is a SNL clip of the recent Facebook Whistleblower hearings. It is hilarious as well as sad.

What it does emphasize is the fact that those who are trying to maintain the Nation-State are completely clueless about what is happening. The likes of Zuckerberg are well aware of this.

Of course, all of this is the level we are at in 2021. Where will things be in 2030? We know that governments will not get more efficient, politicians any smarter, nor bureaucracy any less.

Decentralized Networked-States

There is little doubt that the transition so far is akin to jumping out of the skillet and into the fire. While one system was oppressive and tyrannical, the second one is equally as bad. In fact, some make the case it is worse due to the speed that things operate.

Nevertheless, the Networked-State is not going away. It will only grow in power, with many rivaling the powers of government. If Facebook is bigger than the population of any single nation, then we see the ability to supersede much of what the government does.

The one main difference is that some governments, at least at this level, have the ability to print money. That gives them a leg up in their ability to fund the causes that keep them in power.

Of course, the same is quickly becoming true for the Networked-States. In fact, Facebook is in the process of rolling out the Diem*, its own digital currency. We can only guess the impact this will have on many governments around the world.

It also emphasizes the quandary that is forming. While people were hindered by being under the control of the Nation-State, they are no better off in the networked world that emerge. Essentially, we just swapped tyrants.

Here is where the Decentralized Network-States enter the picture. Again, it is hard to believe, but within a couple decades, this will have severe impact upon the networked environments we are presently operating under. These will end up spreading more rapidly than this generation of Networked-States since technology tends to speed up over time. The fact we are starting roughly 30 years after the digital realm started means we are at a powerful point.

None of this should be overlooked. Facebook was a nothing when it first was introduced. The clip parodies MySpace. Many viewed what Zuckerberg was doing simply as a replacement for that.

However, we know things changed enormously. Now, consider the fact that Facebook is not even 20 years old. It is, perhaps, the most influential entity in the world yet it has not been around for 2 decades.

In closing, we see the transition underway. We will cover some of the particulars of this situation in the next article.

The key for now is to step back to see what already happened. This provides enormous insight into what is going to unfold over the next couple decades.

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