Of all the issues that will challenge policymakers in the twenty-first century, none is more important than the fate of the state. The state, after all, is at the center of national politics and power, and still remains the most consequential actor in the international system – or some states do, at least. As we shall see, while all states are subject to an array of forces we can conveniently package under the heading of ‘globalization’, not all states were created equal. On the contrary, one of the more important debates in contemporary international relations (IR) and international political economy (IPE) is about the capacity of states to manage national affairs at a time of greater international economic integration and political interdependence. This is not simply an academic debate either: national living standards and overall security are increasingly determined by the state’s interaction with the wider international system within which it is embedded.
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