Were Empires Better Than Nation-States at Managing Diversity?

By Respecting Local Cultures, Far-Flung Rulers Fostered Cooperation From Those They Subjected

Did empires actually serve to protect the diversity of their subjugated people? And if so, what lessons can they offer for the challenges facing modern states?

Answering these questions might begin with the Spanish conquest of the New World in the 16th century—a moment that changed empires forever, because the Spanish empire became global then in a way that was not possible earlier.

Although Alexander the Great constructed a vast Eurasian empire, and the Roman Empire regarded itself as ecumenical, neither of them incorporated the enormous variety of peoples and cultures …

More In: Governance

The Delicious Transparency of the Hamburgers

If California Really Wants Open Government, a Northern German City Has a Model That Works

California could use a concert hall like Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

The signature structure of 21st century Germany sits atop an old pier above a dramatic bend in the Elbe River. Its …

California Needs to Embrace the Apocalypse

Why Gov. Jerry Brown Is Practicing ‘Enlightened Doomsaying’ to Save the State—and the World

Is California being governed by apocalyptic French philosophy?

Oui. But it’s not the end of the world.

Indeed, apocalyptic French philosophy may finally provide clarity for those of us long puzzled …