If the U.S. was divided into smaller countries, would the result be better?

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    If the U.S. was divided into several smaller countries, would the end result be better for all concerned?

    I think that would probably be the case. Most of the countries with the highest standards of living are small countries. Past a certain size, governments tend not to be very representative of the average citizen. Large government is usually less efficient than smaller government as well.

    There are large differences in the wants and needs of different parts of this country. The policies desired by much of the South is at odds with that desired by the North East or the West.

    The ties between the newly created countries could still confer most of the existing advantages as far as lack of tariffs, free movement, consistent laws.

    What do you think?
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not for all.
    Sounds like you're talking about white people.
    The burden of subsidizing the policies of the southern States is fairly heavy now - the north and east white people might be happy to be rid of it. But how is the South going to handle Mexico without Wall Street muscle?
    Then what would be the point?
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The point would be better local government.

    We aren't talking about "white" people. There are many black people in the North East and Mid-West and parts of the West Coast.

    I'm thinking more about conservative vs liberal if anything. Religious vs secular. Cities vs rural.

    Who needs to "handle" Mexico?

    Small countries tend to be better.
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    How many pieces do you anticipate? The eastern seaboard is not a locality.
    And keeping all the same laws and stuff like that, no trade barriers, basically.
    The only thing keeping Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas afloat right now is Federal agricultural and fossil fuel subsidies - plus Federal water management. How's that going to work?
    They don't have the same regional division of interests and favored policies you describe. Neither do the brown and red ones.
    So about 250 pieces?
    Texas. For starters.
    The liberal ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_area
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I haven't described any policies.

    How many countries would the U.S. be if superimposed on Europe?

    Your idea that Texas couldn't exist without subsidies from the rest of the country demonstrates my point. It's not an efficient system. There is no reason why Texas shouldn't be able to exist as a country if it should so choose.
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    There is no comparison to Europe. The countries there grew out of ancient native tribes, plus incomers from Asia and the Middle East. The present borders are the outcome of invasions, occupations, wars, treaties and royal marriages over several thousand years. And recently, it's made a sincere, protracted effort at union. That may not hold up under the enormous present stresses, but you can see how keenly aware the Europeans are of the vulnerability of small nations alone.

    North America is dominated by incomers of only four centuries, occasionally warring among themselves. The borders are the quite arbitrary ones drawn in two treaties - plus the Mason-Dixon compromise (a very bad idea). Even so, and with all its internal conflicts, the USA did become the wealthiest and most powerful empire in history, so there must have been something positive in its size.

    The Civil War never really ended, and may erupt again at any time. There are many other rifts, as well. And, yes, as an administrative unit, the Disunited States is just as unwieldy as any federation. The USSR fell apart, but its component states are not "doing well" in the aftermath. Even Russia, which retained all of the wealth and most of the weaponry, has some serious problems. I think, so would the original thirteen colonies, if suddenly stripped of the other states.

    A peaceful partition might work. Certainly, there is merit in a more manageable civil service, budgeting and legal apparatus. There is merit in local control - except where local control is oppressive. In some regions, you also have the danger of demagoguery and concentrated ownership of resources, transport facilities, broadcasting, etc. You'd have to break up those monopolies first, and prevent an exodus of capital assets.
    If we divided North America (Canada, US, Mexico) into nine or ten geographic regions, with new administrative structures (not the corrupt electoral machine that's currently in place - if you keep that, you lose more than you gain) and allowed free movement across the borders, so that people could go where the political policy best suited them ... But, of course, you couldn't let people vote with their feet, because they'd all flock to the richest three states, which would suddenly become poor as a result, while the others would be depopulated, leaving all the local wealth to the few remaining people, who then wouldn't want to share with their returning neighbours. And besides, some states would enshrine in their new constitution the exclusion and/or disenfranchisement of specified groups.

    Still, among reasonable governments, some kind of migration agreement could be reached. Some kind of equitable trade arrangements could be made. Some plan for access/maintenance sharing of infrastructure could be arrived-at.
    Of course, if people were reasonable, we wouldn't have these messes in the first place.
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    There does seem to be a trend in recent histody toward the breaking up of empires (Soviet Union) and artificial entities (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. I don't know if it's an improvement.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You have, geographically. And you were obviously talking about white people only - your description made no sense for black, red, or brown people.
    And how much "inefficiency" have the Europeans endured over the centuries, since the breakup of the Roman Empire?
    It's not that the breakup of a working empire is necessarily a bad thing, long term; but it's kind of a disaster, in the short term. The cost is heavy. You don't want to do it for light reasons.
    What are you trying to accomplish that cannot be accomplished via the current division into States?
    It is more "efficient" as a system. Texas would continue to exist, after all, as something - just a worse-off, uglier something. The larger category that included former Texas and the former rest of the US would then acquire some extra inefficiencies it now lacks.

    Now whether it would be worth it to the rest of us, worth the pain and damage to get rid of that gangrenous limb, is an interesting question. There are US people who would benefit substantially by our divesting the US of much of Texas, maybe building Trump's Wall where it might do some good. But "efficiency"? That's not going to be the benefit.
    There are some reasons (loss of civil rights by some current US citizens unable to escape, say), but they may not be decisive - ok. So?
  12. spidergoat Venued Serial Memberlist Valued Senior Member

    Bad idea. We have more power as a collective. That's why the European Union is a good idea, and why Russia wants to break it up. And why the UN is so reviled by the GOP.
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    It is for some of the former states. The land and resources never seem to get divided equally, and there is often long-suppressed resentment that breaks out in violence. Wars like the one over Yugoslavia are so costly - not merely in men and materiel and destruction, but in hard feelings that keep festering for generations - that it sets back the potential progress of all participants. As for Russia's annexed provinces, some are able to do better than others; some are luckier than others in their location.
    North America has two huge advantages in dividing up: its smaller component states are not easy prey for the empire next door, and there are no thousand-year-old blood feuds. Without crappy governments and the dirty campaign by which they won, the differences that do exist could be resolved within a generation. I believe the people, by and large, are so inclined.

    Another plus: If the US were no longer a threat to their sovereignty and haven for the most corrupt abusers of national resources, Latin America might be able to put its own houses in order. (Unless China changed its non-intervention policy.... and if the Russian oar isn't in too deep....)
    Hard to predict, innit?
    sideshowbob likes this.
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Might be underestimating the Civil War, there.
    And (related to that) the Republican voting base - they've held together for more than a generation already, and show no signs of evaporation. Which brings in the corporate capitalists.

    It's not exactly crappy government, by itself, at the root. That's as much symptom as disease.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    I don't think so. Of course the malaise is deep-rooted, but there hasn't been a spontaneous outbreak since the sixties. I remember a lot of positive moves in the late sixties and seventies. With constructive government actions, they could have led to a very much better America by now. It could have healed.
    But with race and money (neither of which would have been such a divisive issue if not for disparity of income and opportunity at the bottom. Provide not enough of anything and make the poor fight each other for scraps.) as wedges, crappy government became ever more successful. From Nixon's campaign on, they've made a concerted, sometimes clever, sometimes crude effort to exacerbate any existing tensions and invent new ones. Spreading egregious lies and publishing bogus statistics became standard practice. Giving economic disparity a boost contributed; the destruction of trade unions and burial of the working class; marginalizing intellectuals and vilifying liberal progressives; selective law-enforcement; gerrymandering and voter exclusion; concentrated private control of broadcast media to disseminate propaganda in broad swathes of sensitive territory... Lots of dirty tricks.
    Possibly the most brilliant dirty trick was the Nordquist pledge.
    Sounds great: taxpayer protection. It means tying the hands of representatives in the budgeting for public services - but has never stopped insane deficit spending on war machinery.

    In spite of all that, many communities kept on integrating and behaving well toward one another. Hence the rabid attacks on what they refer to as "political correctness gone mad" every time someone objects to a triumphal secessionist war memorial or racist speech. They know where to brace the crowbars and where to recruit dumb muscle for the prying.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No outbreak is wholly "spontaneous". They won in '68 - Nixon, and Nixon re-elected, a conservative southerner to placehold after Nixon's disgrace, and then Reagan to nail it. So the need for outbreak was tempered.
    Which they opposed and fought, with increasing success culminating in the victory of Reagan.
    The Republican base we have today, legacy of the Civil War essentially, voted for that government, successfully in 1968 and again in 1980. Re-elected bothe times. There was no secrecy in this. They knew what they were doing, or they refused to know - willfully.
  17. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    There is much truth in that. (Don't forget legacy of the earliest colonies. The fatal flaw was already present at the nations's inception. The founders knew and chose to let it slide, rather than offend one another.)
    I know there is much malice alongside the ignorance. But I still can't put it all on the voters; both malice and ignorance were heavily cultivated. There was a lot of chicanery to skew the count, as well; a lot of money and effort went into convincing the stupidest segment of the population to vote against its own interest. Disinformation is more effective than most Americans have imagined (until now) and the system is more corrupt than they're willing to admit (How many knew 'drain the swamp' really meant 'turn it into a cesspool'?) The Reagan administration did massive damage; the Bushes rendered it damn near irreparable....
    Gibbon must be having vivid flashback nightmares about now.

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