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Essay Paper on Modern Institutions

by Josh Perry


In this essay, the sociological and economic disciplines that are states, nation-states, and unions of like-minded individuals, will be discussed. The United States will be focused upon as an example of a nation-state. The European Union will also be discussed as this is the largest grouping of affiliated nations in the world and one that wields a dynamic of power that is second to none.

Keywords: nationalism, transnationalism, European Union

In the course of human history, there have been multiple, layered, socioeconomic as well as political movements that have shaped the world we live in today. As the world moved away from pluralistic empires, in the beginning of the 20th century, to a more independent nation state sociological environment, certain changes in the nations of the world, started to show their affects. The rise of these nation states has lead to an increase in the amount of nationalism concerns as well as a cross-reference and overlapping at times, transnational concern (Charle, 2004,  pg. 219-225).

While identifying a nation state is not a difficult task, what is important to learn about in this essay, are the certain, unique characteristics that are found only in this type of sociological society. One of the main characteristics of a nation state is the identity of self-rule. In this form of leadership and political landscape, the leader is elected from the body of the citizens in the nation state. In most of the first world, nation states of the world, the politics of self-rule are unbreakable and non-debatable in the political spectrum of the nation state.

Another characteristic of a nation-state is that the government is organized and sanctioned by the people themselves. This means that the people have duly elected and appointed this representative governmental body to act on the collective behalf of the nation-state.

Germany is an example of a nation as this country is a tightly knit group of people, which share a common culture, language, beliefs, and sociological norms (Econ, 1990, pg. 213). A nation can evolve into a nation-state as long as the people have a definable border and are considered to be a nation on their own. Japan is a nation-state and is one that fits the characteristics of what it takes to be this form of societal makeup.

In comparison to a nation and an independent state, there is the combination of both of these societal groupings into what is referred to as a true, nation-state. Israel is a good example of a nation-state at this country has a border and all of the territorial possessions are found within this nation.

The United States of America fits the criteria and carries out the functions of a modern nation-state. Since the nation is a gathering of like-minded citizens under one definable territory, the characteristic of what is required of a nation-state is fulfilled in this example. In the functioning aspect of a nation-state, the United States of America has a common culture and one that has evolved over the course of history but that remains basically the same for the majority of the people that live in this nation.

The attribute of a fixed territory is one that the United States works hard to foster. The United States government as well as the American society, as a whole, agrees upon and cooperatively works together, to make certain that the nation-state attributes and features are in place and viable. The sovereignty of the United States of America is a trait that is difficult to define in the scope of a generalized, easy to comprehend, vernacular (Nettle, 1968, p. 559-552). The supreme power of the American people to give to the United States government, the power to rule, is a notion that is backed and supported by the American society.

Right along side of the sovereignty of the United States of America is the common culture of the nation-state. The culture of the United States is one that has been imported and groomed from other countries and ethnic groups all over the world. It is a remarkable achievement to the United States, which this nation-state even has a shared and respected as well as protected common culture set.

The United States has an overriding foreign policy directive that starts and ends with the maintaining of the nations global dominance. While this may be a challenging area of concern for the United States government, in the current environment of this modern time, the importance of being seen as the policeman of the world is nonetheless just as important to the country as it ever has been in the past. Another example of a foreign policy objective for the United States of America is that of the act of spreading and cultivating, wherever possible, the spread of democracy.

The History of the European Union is a fascinating account of how a few selected countries, after World War II, decided that it would be in the best interest of not only the affected member nations of the EU but also for Europe and the security of the world as well. In 1949, after the Allied powers had accepted the unconditional surrender of the Axis nations, the beginnings of the European Union bean to be constructed (Gutierrez, 1999, pg. 506-545).

The European Union was initiated in 1950 as a method of bringing to an end the frequent and bloody wars between neighbors, which culminated in the Second World War. As of 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community began to unite European countries economically and politically, as well as socially where available, in order to secure lasting peace. The six founding nations are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome creates the European Economic Community (EEC), or Common Market that allows for transnationalistic economic exchange within the EU.

In the 1960’s, the European Union started to see a boost in the economy as member nations   enjoyed a period of increased economic growth. The economy starts to do so well that the EU countries stopped charging custom duties when they traded with each other.

The member nations also agree to share a joint control over food production, so that everybody now has enough to eat and there will be no more single food shortages that only affect and hinder the society and economy of only one nation.

Although there are many European Union member nations, there are a few that demand a certain heir of superiority and respect. The significant nations of the European Union include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Within the member nations, there are major institutions that serve as governing bodies for the European Union. The European Union has broad priorities that are set by the European Council, which brings together national and EU-level leaders, to a group setting for discussions about a plethora of interest and issues that affect the Union as a whole.

There is the European Parliament, which is made up of elected leaders from the respective nations of the European Union. Alongside the Council and the Parliament, is the European Commission, which is formed by the national governments and is focused on the daily business of the EU.

The European Union is a unique, dynamic, economic and political partnership, made up of 27 European countries. The contemporary function of the European Union is to deliver a level of peace, stability, and prosperity, as well as assist the member nations in the realm of raising the collective standards of living throughout the EU. The utilization of one, common market and one currency, the Euro, has made this process of economic sharing a streamlined and cohesive effort.

The European Union has a set of standards that it strictly follows, in relation to the foreign policy parameters of the member nations. While it is important to hear out the individual member nations foreign policy objectives, it is of greater importance to make certain that these goals of internal as well as external policy making are in line with the EU. The overriding foreign policy objective of the European Union is to promote both the EU’s own interests and those of the international community as a whole.

When the United States and the transnational committees such as NAFTA have a meeting to discuss the achievement of a shared foreign policy effort, the main aspects of these meetings revolve around mutual respect and duality. As a leading nation-state, the United States of America has at its disposal, a variety of internal measures and controls that severely limit the power of any transnational authority. With that barrier being in place, it is a difficult task for any transnational organization to come to an affable agreement on a foreign policy issue that includes the United States.

The consequences of the interactions between a nation-state such as the United States and a transnational grouping, like the European Union, as it pertains to agreeing upon a set of foreign policy objectives can be a serious political and globally positioned issue. At times, there has been a need to call in a third-party arbitrator so that the two side do not end up with sanctions and other forms and acts of economic limitations.

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Works Cited
Charle, C., Schriewer, J., & Wagner, P. (2004). Transnational Intellectual Networks: Forms of Academic Knowledge. Berlin: Verlag Campus.
Econ, J. L. (1990). Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story. 213.
Gutierrez, D. G. (1999). Migration, Emergent Ethniticity, and the ‘Third Space': The Shifting Politics of Nationalism in Greater Mexico. Journal of American History , 506-545.
Kittikhoun, A. W. (2011, March). The Myth of Scholarly Irrelevance for the United Nations. The International Studies Review , pp. 18-23.
Nettl, J. (1968). The State as a Conceptual Variable . World Politics , 559-592.

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