"We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience." -John Dewey
Canada, Denmark, and Russia have each submitted their claim of sovereignty over the North Pole to the United Nations. Each country argues that the pole rests on parts of a continental shelf that they control. A recent Reuters report explains that the geographic North Pole is home to rich oil and natural gas reserves.
This dispute highlights an alienating fact about sovereign borders. Although the cultural claims to sovereignty in Isreal/Palestine and elsewhere make for vivid news stories, territorial disputes have been fought continuously throughout history over access to resources.
In essence, whereas common ideas of nationhood take into account the societies and domain of people, sovereignty for resource acquisition reduces the Nation to areas for extracting commodities.
I argue that resource extraction is an abstraction for most people. Even for those directly involved in the exploitation of the environment, I doubt their activities instill a sense of belonging to the greater nationstate or to its ecology. There’s a word for this approach to nation-building: ALIENation.