European History/global understanding
what are the advantages and disadvantages of strong nationalist feelings and identity in the modern global economy?
can nationalism and a global economy co-exist? what are the challenges involved in these ideas?
in economic terms, strong nationalist feelings usually express themselves in high protective tariffs and in a foreign policy that attempts to create an autarchy, or closed zone of economic self-sufficiency. the former usually leads to reciprocal behavior among one's neighbors, which leads in turn to a general decline in trade and in economic activity. the latter leads to exploitative colonial regimes, necessitating large military expenditures which still are seldom sufficient to maintain the necessary level of control, a general hostile, hyper-competetive international environment, and the moral decay of both the colonized and colonizer.
nationalist economic policy can persist if only a few actors are pressing that policy, but if economic nationalism becomes generalized, its disadvantages soon spread.
economic nationalism practiced in a general environment of free trade benefits owners of capital in the society that practices it. it may additionally benefit workers in favored enterprises if the society's institutions favor an equitable distribution of wealth, but most people will not benefit because they will likely be denied the benefits of free trade as other countries begin to retaliate against countries practicing economic nationalism.
so certainly, nationalism, at least in isolated instances, and a globalized economy can coexist, but most people, if allowed a choice, are too rational to support economic nationalism.