I can't see why the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report "Minority Ambitions Struggle To Break Through Nation-State Glass Ceiling"
comes as any surprise. It is, doubtless, true that Spain is practically unique in extending more powers to regional governments, in contrast to the general European trend of relatively centralized governments administering relatively homogeneous policies across their national territories. Why is this? Kenichi Ohmae
, in his 1995 End of the Nation State
, predicted the rise of what he called the "region-state"
, claiming that regions within nation-states were often more energetic in supporting globalization than their parent nation-states, very often taking over central state functions like taxation and support for research and development from the nation-state. Ohmae cited, as examples of region-states, political entities as diverse as Brazil's state of São Paulo
, Japan's region of Kansai
, Catalonia (autonomous community)
, the French region of Rhône-Alpes
, and Scotland
Québec, Catalonia, and Scotland have followed suit; São Paulo, Kansai, and Rhône-Alpes have, at best, trailed. Why? It isn't necessarily because, as Ohmae might suggest, the central governments of Brazil, Japan, and France have suppressed the ambitions of their component regions. Until the 1960s Candian federalism was strongly centralizing, while the--very different--unitary structures of the Spanish and British states have been almost prototypical. Rather, it's because these less autonomous regions don't especially want these powers; places like Québec and Catalonia and Scotland want to become nation-states in their own right. Never mind the region-state; the nation-state remains the central model.