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Tribalism may replace nationalism Picture a world in the next century organized not around nation-states but around a new form of tribes sharing the same culture and values Its a world where you pledge allegiance not to a republic but to a clan That possibility isnt too far-fetched when you take the current state of our fracturing world and overlay new information technologies and the new telecommunications infrastructure Heres how it conceivably could play out This melting-pot business is not working out America no longer seems able to meld all the various peoples within its borders into one harmonious whole As the years go by Americans seem to identify less with their nation and more with their various subgroups based on ethnicity religion or race The rest of the world now that the Cold War is over is resuming its long-simmering ethnic rivalries Nations from the former Soviet Union to Yugoslavia have broken apart into smaller nations based primarily on ethnicity or religion Separatist factions are mounting serious challenges to nations from Canada to Spain to India The idea of the large nation-state grouping people together within geographic boundaries does not seem to work anymore We have organized that way for several centuries but its usefulness may be running out People seem to identify more with those sharing a common culture or holding similar values People may rely on tribes for education security Digital technologies can enhance -- or depending on your perspective exacerbate -- such tendencies They could allow people to connect with people more like themselves regardless of where they live in the world And ultimately they could allow people to formally organize themselves that way Consider a world of the next century along the lines sketched out by Neal Stephenson in his new science-fiction book The Diamond Age Its a world dominated by three large tribes the Chinese the Japanese and the neo-Victorians or
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