Taking issue with intellectual Francis Fukayama, who posits the end of history, business strategist Ohmae (The Borderless World, 1990) more plausibly prophesies the eventual demise of the nation-state, because it has become ""an unnatural, even dysfunctional, unit in terms of which to think about or organize economic activity."" Writing with his customary brio and clarity, the Tokyo-based, MIT-educated consultant makes a persuasive case for the arresting proposition that sovereignty is increasingly irrelevant. Characterizing borders as a cartographic illusion, he observes that what he calls ""the four I's""--industry, investment, individuals, and information--now flow across frontiers with little hindrance. As commercial enterprises capitalize on market opportunities at the ends of the earth or closer to their home bases, however, traditional governments remain in thrall to outdated notions of national interest and to the importunate demands of parasitic constituencies seeking shelter from economic rivalry. While central governments are still major players on the world stage, Ohmae insists that they have lost the capacity to adapt to change, let alone respond effectively to its challenges. He documents the significant extent to which nation-states remain focused on parochial issues during an age when real-time information is the common coin of industry and distance has become economically immaterial. The resulting power vacuum has been filled by what the author dubs region states, geographic territories oriented toward the global economy, not their host countries. Cases in point range from Baden-W(infinity)rtemberg, San Diego/Tijuana, and Wales through Korea's Pusan perimeter and Hollywood, which has profited greatly from the warm welcome it extended foreign capital, whether from the Japanese or Rupert Murdoch. Elegant perspectives on what the socioeconomic future might hold from a past master of the geopolitical game. The engrossing text has helpful tabular material and graphics throughout.