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Erosion Of National Sovereignty

The world today is aptly described as a 'Global village' in which a web of information networks interconnects individuals as well as organisations and governments.



The world today is aptly described as a 'Global village' in which a web of information networks interconnects individuals as well as organisations and governments. The global village is a world that is increasingly interconnected buy communication technologies and that is tending toward a global culture. Driven by technological and economic forces, globalisation gathered momentum since 1990's. The process of globalisation has been initiated originally to protect the economic interests of G-8 nations as well as to expand the market areas for the Multinational Corporations (MNC's). Since 1990, there has been a tremendous increase in number of MNC's. During 1990, there were only 3000 MNC's and this has increased to 63,000 today. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the formation of European Community, there has been a phenomenal growth in MNC's doing business across national borders.


Besides economic integration of nations, there has been an increase in number of Transnational Non-governmental Organisations (TNGO's).

Examples   :         Amnesty International

International Committee of the Red Cross

Doctors without Borders

Green Peace


The availability of inexpensive and very fast communications technology has made it easier for such groups to organise and to make impact on public policy of a nation. It is felt that such influences of NGO's as a threat and erosion of internal sovereignty of weak nations. Another powerful source for the erosion of national sovereignty originate from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral financial institutions. These institutions imposses conditionality agreements that involve not only specific economic target but also domestic institutional changes.


The European Union (EU) is inconsistent with conventional sovereignty rules. The members of European Union have created supranational institutions.

Examples   :         European Court of Justice

European Commission

EU Council of Ministers


These supranational bodies can make decisions opposed by some member states. The European Monetary Union (EMU) created a central bank that controls monetary affairs of member sates. The Single European Act and Maastricht Treaty are fundamentally contradict traditional understanding of sovereignty because they have undermined the juridical autonomy of its individual members.


Globalisation in relation to national sovereignty reflects a multi-dimensional concept. It implies an interdependence of a growing number of aspects of economic and cultural life. In addition to economic interdependence (Trade, Finance and Direct Investment) there are educational, technological, ideological, cultural, as well as ecological, environmental, legal, military, strategic and political impulses that are influenced in the context of globalisation. There has been free movement of goods and services across national borders. Immigration rules are relaxed for free movement of skilled persons across nation. Many software professionals migrated to USA and opted both for permanent residency status and citizenship. Many Non-Resident Indians (NRI) claim for dual citizenship. In such changed world scenarios, the operation of states is more complex. The integration of world economy and the migration of people across national borders has impinges increasingly on national sovereignty. National sovereignty is divided among a number of agencies such as national, regional, and international. The development of international trade laws and the emergence of supranational organisations have paved the way for erosion of national sovereignty. The sum total of the various elements of globalisation has left the individual sovereign state less and less focus on policy and control. Supranational organisations such as WTO, EU, NAFTA, WB and IMF become more significant players in influencing the policy of nations and thus attacking the national sovereignty. Globalisation, thus, placing State sovereignty under strain, as international rules and institutions appear to become more instructive, transnational NGO's more active and state control is less pronounced. State sovereignty as a normative concept is increasingly challenged by the process of globalisation. The sanctioned use of legitimate violence by the national sovereign power is now challenged and influenced by International NGO's.


Privatization and liberalisation are the two watchword for globalisation. The support for privatization of services hitherto rendered by government has been gaining momentum in all the developing nations. The success of privatisation of services in South Korea has led other Asian nations to move towards limited government and liberalised economy. Liberalised economy was introduced in India since 1991 and many of the public sectors were privatised. The Indian government monopoly over certain productions and services were relaxed. The spirit of free competition has led many MNC's to enter India and do business.


The MNC's inturn influences the national and regional policies for their easy and successful operation. The erosion of national sovereignty has been more prounced due to the privatisation and the shedding of State obligatory functions worldwide in service provisions, distribution and production. Corporate managers and non-citizens are the new policy makers in the context of globalisation. The shrinking responsibilities of states and the expansion of private sectors has led to de-bureaucratisation. Only regulatory functions are allocated to State. For instance in India, since 1991 the 'license raj' has been controlled.


The primary goal for globalisation is economic integration of the world and it therefore failed in political and cultural integration. This resulted in cultural awakening of groups which are against universal culture (American-Western culture). As opined by Samuel. P. Huntington, the process of globalisation has initiated the clash of civilisations. He adds that civilisation 'fault lines' may lead to civilisation conflicts. There is no meaning for national sovereignty in conflict resolutions based on civilisational conflicts. In such situation national boundaries will be redrawn and national sovereignty may be redefined.


Many social scientists believe that globalisation erodes national sovereignty in terms of :

(a)    Forces of fundamentalism

(b)    Neo-colonialism

(c)     Civilizational conflicts and

(d)    New politics.

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