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The nation-state is a relatively recent phenomenon, having been preceded by city-states, empires, alliances, etc.

This most of you already know.

My question is, what's meant to legitimately succeed it? What's the next possible step in sociopolitical organization? Because I don't think anyone here is naive enough to think nation-states are the last word in the development of civil society.

I mean if I'm going to run a futuristic campaign, it'd be nice if I had something to work with other than empires and federations, which are really just a step backwards compared to nation-states.

I'm sort of drawing a blank here because everything else just feels like a retread of outmoded systems...

The closest I can figure is something drawn more along economic/corporate lines.