Facebook is already the most populated nation in the world.
More than 1,550 million people live connected to each other today, exchanging ideas, feelings, languages, aptitudes, products, services, economies… The demographic has been, is and will be a deciding factor in this world’s organization. And it is convenient to reflect and reconsider many clichés before it.
It would be necessary to discern first what we intend as a nation and how we feel as a country. If we adhere to a legal or historic scope, the concept of nation rises in the middle of the XVII century when the Treatise of Westphalia puts an end to the Thirty Years’ War, in 1648. But the maturity of the State nation is not consolidated until the end of the XVIII century, coinciding with the end of the old regime and the fall of the French Revolution, when the first theoretical formulation of the differential event with its adjacent political movements are elaborated. It would be certainly necessary to synthetize here the foretold End of History, by Francis Fukuyama, equidistant to the renationalization that seems to be observed in certain areas of Europe as a consequence of what Samuel Phillips Huntington defined as the clash of civilizations, especially that of radical Islamism against the West.
Aside from Nicholas of Kues’s humanistic, Leibniz’s rationalist and Locke’s empirical viewpoint, without setting aside Hobbes and Rousseau’s philosophical and political reasoning, let us agree that a nation gathers the identitarian wills of the individuals who share a political system and social structure, a common history, a unique market, same government and… A land.
Well, Facebook fits perfectly this legal political definition of a nation. It is a network of identitarian wills, of belonging to a communication system. It is a network with common history, although its origin is quite recent, similar to when American republics claimed their sovereignty the day after the obtain independence. It is a network with a unique market, still incipient, like the one the European Union is trying to set, not without difficulties.
It already has a government, which rules are written from the government of the platform, but is modified from time to time in accordance to democratic pressure exercised by its users; in any way, many nations have supported totalitarian governments throughout history without anyone rejecting their status as a nation. It is also a network with a backbone and, of course, better connected than any other State in the world. And there is the always present and thorny territorial issue…
Facebook’s territory, as a concept, is the cloud. That undefined place in front of the desk, on the bed, on the bus, crossing the street with smart device in hand which we check over 100 times a day. The intellectual space for our ideas, our pictures, our videos or our public events. It is, therefore, the space where we cultivate our social identity. But there’s no physical space in Facebook, indispensable condition to represent our animal condition, some political experts reply.
In fact, physical space was a necessary condition of nationality when the land, the soil, constituted the matrix of any economic and social activity. The farmland from which the communitarian food system germinated when all economic activity rested in the primary sector… Or the land on which the industry was built when national potentiality depend in the secondary sector… even planetary geometry when the nations grew on the tertiary sector and services demanded air- the atmosphere-to fly from London to New York or the rails which allow for traveling between Madrid and Barcelona in barely two and a half hours.
But what land are we talking about when we refer to the quaternary sector, this is to say, to a knowledge society formed through the digital transformation of the world? This new territory forms the most advanced dimension of our social being on a daily basis. Through the network, we communicate, share an intelligent expression, value creation, talent, economy and political system. It is not very futurist to think that tomorrow’s nations will not exist, just like they did not before the XVIII century.
From that moment on, we will identify ourselves, we will share a language, we will create thoughts, boost the economy, promote culture and we will give ourselves a government inside Facebook or the social network to come. We will choose our public servant through the keyboard, we will turn red many of their current functions and we will even decide many of our laws without political intermediaries, by force of clicks. No, the ius sanguine or the ius soli will not have a place in the future legal body of laws of the internet.