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The question of how one accommodates and manages diversity within the context of the nation state is by no means a new one. It is an age old issue that gave rise to centuries of warfare in Europe. The issue was supposed to have been resolved in 1648 by the famous doctrine -cuius regio eius religo (the king's faith is the religion of the kingdom) which was enunciated in the Peace Treaty of Westphalia. Despite the Pax Westphalia, there continued to be considerable controversy as to what should be the role of the state and the relationship which those who live within its borders should have with it. Political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes were of the view that having regard to the conditions of the time in which they lived and the social characteristics of man as they understood them, the monarch should be all powerful and that corporations and social groups should surrender their rights to the Leviathan or "mortal god" as Hobbes termed him, in the interest of peace, order, prosperity and good government.
Copyright Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies