Monday, January 17, 2011

Breaking Up Is Good to Do

I much liked this post by Parag Khanna in Foreign Policy (January 13).


“Southern Sudan is just the beginning. The word may soon have 300 independent, sovereign nations … and that’s just fine.”

“The entropy afflicting the post-colonial world will not stop anytime soon. States like Congo, Nigeria, and Pakistan, which are internally diffuse and often intentionally unevenly developed, will soon be too large to manage themselves. It is less likely that they will gather the competence, capacity, and will to become equitable modern states than that they will continue to inspire resistance to the legacies of centralized misrule.”

This is precisely the theme I developed in my book, The Second Twentieth Century (Hoover Press, 2006). Due to the extraordinary new abundance of information, market expands everywhere while hierarchies, states included, tend to contract. The optimal state size is shrinking, or at least not increasing, at a time when population is growing. Then, the smallest states can prosper when global markets expand, due to much reduced transaction-information costs. And, I added, shrinking states have no reason to go at war with each other.

I look forward to reading Khanna's new book.

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