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Nine Nations

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In his book "The Nine Nations of North America", Joel Garreau argues that United States is not really a nation of 50 states, but part of a continent of nine nations. Garreau finds that each of the nine nations of North America has its own capital, its own peculiar economy, and its own distinctive web of influence. A few of the nations are allies but many are adversaries. He believes that everything from politics to urban planning needs to be redesigned to match the evolving regional sensibilities that now matter more to people than national and international borders. In the Ecotopia, for instance, residents prize the natural environment and specialize in environmentally friendly high-technology industries like software. Meanwhile, communities in the Empty Quarter are organized around extraction of natural resources such as the oil and timber that are their economic mainstay. Such regional differences, Garreau suggests, result in fundamental differences in worldviews that are pulling each of the nine nations apart. This suggests still another form of political fragmentation. As these "nations" mature and become more self-assured, they become less tolerant of a central control that does not respond to their particular needs and circumstances. Each "nation" also becomes more capable of dealing with its own problems in its own way.

This evocative thesis has created many controversies among scholars. However, more than twenty years have passed since the book was first published, so, what prismatic changes have changed in the 26 years since this book was published? What remains the same? Where have the changes happened? Which predictions came true?

First of all, Garreau believed that international borders are vanishing and that the United States, Canada and Mexico are being redesigned into nine nations. Hence the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a supporter of Garreau's hypothesis. The NAFTA eliminated the borders between the three countries and allowed a free commercial trade flow between them. The economies opened up to each other and each country took advantage of the other two by exploiting their strengths and weaknesses through exportation and importation.

Second, Quebec was considered by Garreau as one of his nine nations. He stated that Quebec needs to be detached from Canada and form its own independent



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