Introduction: Explaining global order
In the modern world it is conspicuously easy to communicate and interact with people all over the globe. Communication and interaction are facilitated by common systems of distinction and by our ability to predict the behavior of our counterparts. An air ticket can be used all over the globe because there is agreement on the meaning of the series of codes printed on it, and because there are common classification systems used to describe organizations such as airlines and individuals such as pilots; furthermore we expect airlines and pilots to act in a similar manner wherever we encounter them. Because it is easy to predict the behavior of people and organizations, it is possible to interact with them with little knowledge about their personal traits or histories. To many modern observers, this high degree of order is remarkable, and has played a significant role in fostering the popularity of the concept of globalization.
For most of the twentieth century, scholars have referred to the nation-state as a primary source of order, although within restricted territories, through first a common organization, the state; and second a common culture, the nation. Modern states constitute one of our clearest examples of complete, strong and complex organizations (Ahrne 1998) and cultures are often assumed to follow state borders (Hofstede 1980).