chapter  14
15 Pages

State Sovereignty: Alive and Well

ByMilton J. Esman

Sovereignty is a many-splendored and usefully imprecise attribute of state-hood, epitomized by Montgomery's felicitous phrase: "having the last word". The growing acceptance of dual citizenship, particularly in connection with large-scale Mexican immigration to the United States, is therefore identified by Nathan Glazer as a symptom of the contemporary erosion of the principle and practice of exclusive allegiance and consequently a derogation of state sovereignty. The principle of absolute sovereign immunity from external intervention has been challenged in recent years from two directions: human rights and neo-liberal economics. The political battle lines shaped by the struggle over the scope of globalization produce strange alliances, internal and international. Much of the reaction against unrestricted global free markets has centered on elements of civil society working through nongovernmental organizations that place such values as human rights, environmental protection, and health and labor standards above global economic efficiency and the profitability of transnational corporations.