Why you should care
Because the nature of nations and nationalities is becoming increasingly complex.
How many countries are there in the world? The answer is 196. Or 193, or 195 or maybe 206. It depends on whether you trust the U.N., the State Department or Wikipedia. The fact is, defining countries is not easy and, to complicate matters even further, every so often new states are born and added to the list. In 2008 it was Kosovo gaining independence from Serbia, and in 2011 South Sudan finally went solo after years of civil war. So which countries are likely to follow? Well, with Europe fielding around 60 separatist movements, Africa seeing its fair share of regions striving for independence, and the Middle East and Asia claiming home to multiple wannabe states, there’s a whole lotta possibilities. Read the story here.
Nearly 12 million people around the globe are without a nationality — even though Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says everyone has the right to one. And while it may not seem like such a massive burden, it means no citizenship, no protections and no legality. Stateless people can’t even enjoy simple things like driving legally or accessing health care because they lack the proper paperwork. The causes of statelessness vary from simple administrative errors to legal disputes between countries. But sometimes states cease to exist altogether, leaving citizens homeless. Whatever the cause, the predicament is rarely temporary. Luckily some nations are making progress to combat the problem. Read the story here.
Parag Khanna is a best-selling author, globalization analyst, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a self-described “ideas entrepreneur” — and maybe the next Tom Friedman. He spoke to OZY about some alternate vocabulary for the whole flattening-world thing, how a new kind of passport might have prevented the Malaysian airplane debacle, and his Bollywood fanboy status. He says, “There is good potential for fighting over spoils among ethnic communities that are competing for a pie that is not growing as fast as it used to grow. What’s interesting to me is that it’s on that city level, not just the national level, because there are cities that are so diverse and you really can’t say that they belong to one place … New York is one; London is another obvious one.” Read the story here.