Are state borders necessary if there are no restrictions on the movement of people?

To me, state borders help define citizenship in order to help the state define the group that particular state is responsible for governing over. State borders create terms such as "citizenship." But if people have the choice of free movement from one state to another, are borders really necessary and how would their citizenship change from state to state? Wouldn't the freedom to move from state to state create a global citizen, one that is not bound by a particular state? Would there be a standard requirement as to how one would earn the citizenship of the other state and if this is so, who would decide what these standards are and wouldn't the standards have to be the same for all states? This decree of citizenship by choice leads me to question whether or not it would be possible to have a concept such as international citizenship, where people may move as they choose but are allowed to hold as many citizenships of their choice. Perhaps people can have a choice as to what their main citizenship is, but if residing in a place after a standard duration of time would automatically change their main citizenship. Would having a standard rule for all states to follow in determining citizenship make governing the body of people more efficient or would this standard create more problems? State borders and the concept of international citizenship would seem workable if there were no measurements on the success of states creating equality and lessening incentives for concentrated migration of persons, which if were to happen would trigger fear and a reaction of a heightened sense on the importance of citizenship and belonging in order to protect ones rights.

The borders, as I see them within the rules I have read, aren't truly for citizenship. They are to allow easier management of the land. Without breaking up the geography into manageable pieces, the system would surely become difficult to oversee. Countries have states, those states having counties and in turn those counties having cities, etc., etc., all the way down to a specific address. This sort of granularity is required in all complex systems.

Borders would not serve to limit movement, or determine citizenship, but simply to establish which "state" to contact with issues concerning a specific slice of land.

It seems unnecessary to have borders if restriction is not limited, however in order to create citizenship it would be necessary to create borders. I think the reason for borders would purely be to give people a sense of belonging within ones environment. The states would have different layouts and culture that would be relevant to that state. Regardless of not having certain political aspects, there would still be culture that can be developed in a world like this. Since citizenship is by choice, then where a person chooses to affiliate with reflects their way of life and cultural viewpoints. However, if there were certain representatives or governing of a state that fell in line with a certain belief system, then an entire state could have a very biased opinion on certain issues. There is the potential of losing the well-rounded viewpoints of a population since if a person did not like the 'philosophy' of a state, they can choose to go to be a citizen of a different state that better reflects their own viewpoints. It is a double edge sword when it comes to something like that... it gives the person what they want, but is it the best thing for a nation like this to have biased states? Could that possibly create war and conflict between two states? Which leads me to think that borders may not be the best thing for a place like this. In a society like this that promotes equality and free will without the aspects of major political institutions, it could be that the best thing for it would be to live without borders... but then does citizenship even exist? It is an odd thing to wrap my head around, lol.

Wow, this is a really amazing post, and you bring up some points I hadn't considered. (Not that you'll ever see this, since this was from two years ago. XD)

I agree--having borders gives people a definite place for them to ally themselves with. Even if there weren't any borders or states in the game, people would create them naturally. They want to form groups of like-minded peers. Citizenship by choice has always seemed like a good idea to me. Maybe have a neutral area where people start out, and after a certain amount of time they can choose to claim an area as their own after they've been in the game for awhile and have gotten a feel for the different areas? Maybe after they've had to complete quests/tasks in the different countries/areas of government?

To solve the problem of bias, maybe the game shouldn't allow people to switch citizenship once they've chosen. That way, if they don't like how the state is being run, they'll have to work to change it. It'll keep people from running to somewhere else when they don't like the direction the state is heading in. People with differing opinions will be forced to exist in their state, slowing down the process of migrating toward extremes.

Even if borders were erased, I imagine people would still claim home bases and create cultural centers. If you have ever studied hunting and gathering societies, I imagine that's what it'd be like. There were no states, no central governments (the "nation" is a recent social construct anyway) still disputes over land and resources still exist. It's in our human nature to disagree. But, there is also a greater potential for new relationships, arrangements, and connections not previously imagined by any of us. Regardless of whether we have borders or not and if we're free to travel across them (and even with free travel there can still be hostilities by the players themselves, even if you take state bias out of the equation), we have to account for human nature.

I think borders are unnecessary if restriction is not limited. Although citizenship will be affected I think that culture and layout should be more about country then state if this world without restrictions was to exist. I think having that sense of belonging and identity goes more with country and culture then individual states. I believe that in a world without border there really is no need for citizenship and your identity comes from what country and part of the world you are from.

I agree because one good example of how countries does often reflect the culture of its people is the Middle East. The nations in the Middle East are just randomly drawn lines on a map done by people who had no idea what the ancient culture and territory belonged there. For example, the Kurds, is a culture that once had its own land Kurdistan, but now they do not have their own country. Their country is split between Turkey, Syria, Iran ,and Iraq, where Kurdish community is split. . This is an example of where the culture and identity belongs with the states not the country. Another example would be the Untied States, where people identify which state they are from. The culture in the United States, is really dependent on the state and area where you are from.

Borders do however help the limit the range of bureaucracy. If the ideal is to be a global citizen, or at least not confined by birthplace, then borders aren't necessary. Cultures, languages, traditions aren't necessarily limited by geo-political boundaries. In this sense, I agree with you.

Pending on the how the government/governing body works (if there is such a thing) however, borders are almost a need. Aside from topological changes (ie, my "border" ends at the river) how else could one determine where their "influence" extends?

Borders prevent global citizenship, but in this context do add some organization.

Well, I guess at that part - what would be the point of citizenship in general? Would would affiliations with a specific state/country grant you? In the "real world", so to speak, citizenship defines your ability to work in a country, as well as the local laws for marriage, property ownership, etc. It seems that if you can choose which state you're a citizen off, the whole restriction that goes with citizenship is unnecessary, and which point you could just have "open borders", with people free to travel to whatever place they would like to be at that part of their live, the same way you can move within a state in USA without really having to deal with any legal issues. It would also help have a "global" society more then just a country/state specific one.

Tatiana Chibisova
COCU177 - WI12; Ayhan Aytes

Borders stand to do nothing but segregate people and define them as something different then others. We do not need borders if desire to have fully open borders. We should fully destroy borders and have a global agency that rules the entire world. We are all citizens of this earth and nothing else, nothing more.

Benjamin G Young
CoCu 177 : Winter 2012

I disagree. As you say citizenship defines which set of laws you adhere to, who you have agreed to hold power over you and allow to make decisions for you. Each state is a separate body of government. These states have laws to govern how society within their borders is allowed to function, what is and is not allowed. This is the very definition of a government, a body which controls, regulates, and is held responsible for, the actions of a particular area which is deemed to be under their dominion.

If their are no boundaries then who would any particular state govern, how far would it's jurisdiction stretch. If their are no boundaries then any government could govern any person in the world, or any person could follow the laws of any government which they arbitrarily choose to be a citizen of. To put this in an extreme example, either you would be restricted by the laws of every state in existence at their choosing, or your next door neighbor would be a citizen of one state, and you another; he could choose to follow one where murder, rape, theft, etc are legal, so even if your state outlaws these he could still perform them on you free of consequence.

In summary boundaries are required to control jurisdiction. Borders are the definition of government. Because of this I believe that citizenship should be based on state of residence. By living within the borders of any particular state you are agreeing to abide by its laws, and subject to its government. If you dislike the laws of a particular state then you have the right by decree 1 to change your citizenship and thus move to the respective state. However this should have one caveat, that you are governed by the state in which you commit an action/crime so that one can't simply jump ship per say to another state and respective citizenship to avoid punishment.