Catalonia and the Rise of Europe Over China

Marian Tupy writes of the Catalonian secession movement:

Since their separation, tensions between Czechs and Slovaks have disappeared and the two are, once again, the very best of friends. The Czechs no longer subsidize their poorer cousins in the east, while Slovaks no longer blame their problems on their “big brother” in the west. Everyone has won.

Independence can be a good way to lower tensions between peoples who no longer wish to remain a part of the same political entity and an excellent way to increase inter-jurisdictional competition, thereby allowing for greater institutional experimentation.

Prior to the rise of the European nation states in the 16th and 17th centuries, Europe was sub-divided into hundreds of different states and statelets. Germany alone consisted of over 300 different political entities prior to Napoleon’s consolidation of the territories in 1806.

These states offered their residents different sets of rights and responsibilities. They competed with one another in terms of policies, including religious tolerance and taxation. In fact, it was this territorial disunity that, scholars argue, enabled Europe to zoom past heavily centralized China to become the world’s leading economy.

The more governments split, the more citizens will benefit. Like China 800 years ago, the richest country in the world at the time, the United States is excessively centralized. The country should expel California, Texas, Florida, New York, and New England. The United States was created to defend against Britain and France but they are no longer belligerent. The smallest of the new countries, New England, will include 14 million people, a population nearly double that of Switzerland and larger than 38 of the 48 countries in Europe such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Portugal, and Finland.

Great Britain is robbing the Welsh and English to bribe the Scots to stay in the empire while Canada robs the English provinces to bribe Quebec to remain. Even a smaller country like Belgium would be more efficient if it were split into French and Dutch countries, each with population greater than Ireland.

Singapore was poor when it was expelled from Malaysia in 1965 but has become one of the richest countries in the world. Norway is richer than the Sweden it broke from in 1904 and Panama is much richer than the Columbia it split from in 1903. Taiwan and Hong Kong are much richer than China. Most, if not all, polities benefit from decentralizing because the closer the government is to the people, the more efficient and less corrupt.

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