Do Countries Need Borders?

Do Countries Need Borders?

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A World without Borders?

Those who are internationalists would say that the world doesn’t need borders. There are many “isms” that conceptualize a borderless world. There are political and religious isms that speak of a one nation world. There are many aspects that need to be considered before one starts to go high on an idealistic streak dreaming of a borderless one nation world. This is a complex topic. So I would like to cover the points that came to my mind in order.

Political System and Laws

Every society has their uniqueness in form of history, heritage, geography, culture, social practices, and political aspirations. There are different countries even today that has monarchy while others prefer democracy. In some places democracy has not worked properly and subverted by dictators. Each of these political systems have their own laws unique to their countries. Imagine if there are no borders, what laws will people follow?

One law won’t be able to cater to so wide varieties of region. One would need to imagine a world government, with representatives from each country making up the legislature. There would need to be democracy, with every representative getting one vote. Now, there arises the problem of territory. Who shall decide which territory is represented by a representative? For democracy in any world government, the territory represented by every person must be equal, for them to have the one vote, one value ideal. But in reality, if there is one one vote for USA and one vote for Brunei, that would be impractical.

Also, the geographical earth does not deal in equality. Some territories are rich in minerals, ores, and agricultural fertility. Some are barren and unpopulated. Some are struggling through climate change. You get the idea. The point is who is going to make decisions relating to these resources? After all, only those people who are local to the region would best understand the problems and ways to solve their issues.

How can we expect someone from a far off land to understand problems and solve them? Besides, even on moral grounds, is it right to give power over local resources to such a far-off centralized body? In economic front, we have seen how the Soviet Union collapsed. So there would be huge inequality in distribution of power and control over resources, which would render the idea of world democracy useless. 

Also, even if the territory issue is solved, it would result in the problem of language. What language will be used for laws? English? Mandarin (it’s one of the most spoken languages in the world)? Spanish? Hindi? What about countries that don’t use any of these languages? Can anyone accept a hierarchy of languages or imposition of a foreign language on ones culture? Even if fifty people speak a language, they have right to speak their language.

Identity and Borders

If there were no borders, what would be the identity of people? There would be no Indian, no American, no British, no Canadian, no German. So what will people take for their identity? Religion? But we know that religion results in much conflict. Language, as in we speak Hindi, some speak English, some speak German, some speak some other language? But there are multilinguals. There are people who know little of their mother tongue and much more about other languages. So, basically, the identity of any one person would be much disputed. A person without identity is like a song that has been stripped of music.

Benefits of a World Government

There would certainly some benefits to a world government. More migrants would be able to return home safely. Some other benefits would be that the underdeveloped countries would have much more help. If there was famine or floods or any disaster in any part of the world, the rest of the world’s resources could be directed there for humanitarian aid. However, one can equally argue that even today in large countries there are certain regions that are highly developed, while other regions are underdeveloped. Would a world government be equitable in its treatment of various regions?

No Borders to Human Greed?

We can’t deny existence of greed driving motives of politicians and decision makers. The whole concept of democracy is an ideal, and it depends on the higher nature of humans like kindness, love, empathy. So if there were no borders, humans would need to put up barriers to avoid greed, such as laws that prevent exploitation and dictatorship of few regions over others. More focus would be needed on safeguards. And as we know, more laws by itself are problematic.  

A world without borders would need myriad system of courts just to protect various regions and various cultures and people.

Other Problems

Needless to say, there would be lots of people who would feel deprived and neglected in such a setup. People would start to protest and rebel. There would also be many other problems, such as what would happen to minorities, to tribals, to indigenous cultures that have very few people?

What laws would apply to them? Would the same education be applied to everyone? If so, what about languages? Would Hindi be taught to the British, Chinese be taught to us? If only English were used, the other languages, with rich histories and cultures would be lost and die out. What about countries, such as the Vatican, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc. entirely based on religion?


This is an incredibly complex topic. Also, any alternative to having borders to countries would face leviathan problems, and the benefits conceptualized in theory may not exist in practice. The current system of having borders may be unequal, but it is the only system we are capable of managing, at present. For the high ideal of a borderless world, there is always diplomacy and the United Nations.

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