The first lesson of history is that, like fashion, it is fundamentally cyclical.
In 2017, we are living in a period of renewed national interest, where people are refocusing on the value of the nation-state at the expense of globalization.
This period's inception was the 9/11 attacks and it began in earnest sometime in the mid-2000s, as American experiments in nation-building in the Middle East experienced failure and the world entered the economic crisis.
Before that, the world was focused on globalization, on what Francis Fukayama termed "The End of History" for the decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and, before that, the world's spent four decades in a bi-polar geopolitical struggle between the economic worldview philosophies of democratic republicanism and communism, which each vied to dominate global thinking and practice.
Before that, renewed national interest after the Great Depression created the Second World War.
So, if history is any guide, the world is, sooner or later, headed for a dramatic rethinking of our worldviews. My view is that technological innovation will ultimately drive us closer together and push our societies to rethink nationalism, and instead begin to embrace a more global interest built on partnership to collectively drive solutions to larger problems.
The key reason is because, as we develop further and further, humanities' problems are no-longer national issues. Globalization, automation, energy efficiency, technological re-education, feeding the poor - these issues have outgrown the ability for different nation-states to deploy their own solutions successfully. They can attempt to deploy solutions, and will certainly during this period, but strictly national solutions are guaranteed to fail because not even the resources of the largest nation-states come close to addressing these larger issues.
Take the two greatest issues we face collectively as societies: automation and climate change. Automation is particularly interesting because it will require cooperation between those nations that would seemingly be pitted against one another in the game of national interest.
Although developed Western states, led by America, may blame China for the loss of jobs to globalization, the greater job losses are due to automation. When robots cost less than the cheapest labor, how will humanity cooperate to ensure that people still have work and their raison d'etre? Only by cooperating will they be able to both develop and enforce successful rules of the road for technology - if they are all competing purely in their national interest, it will simply be a race to the bottom.
Climate change presents a similar conundrum for the national interest. If America reduces emissions and accepts a certain degree of economic pain for long term gain, as Europe has, how can it ensure China and India do the same? Only by cooperation. And how can humanity develop the radical scientific innovation it will need to solve climate issues, if conservation proves inadequate, as is increasingly likely? Only by collective endeavor.
So, let the world embrace national interest for some time. Like the markets, history is cyclical and humanity will have to change its approach out of necessity.