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Why Small States Are Better

Why Small States Are Better

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Andreas Marquart and Philipp Bagus (see their mises.org author pageshere and here) were recently interviewed about their new book by the Austrian Economics Center. Unfortunately for English-language readers, the book is only available in German. Nevertheless, the interview offers some valuable insights. 

Mr. Marquart, Mr. Bagus, you have released your new book „Wir schaffen das – alleine!” (“We can do it – alone!”) this spring. The subtitle says: “Why small states are just better.” To begin: Why are small states generally better than larger ones?

Andreas Marquart (AM): In small states the government is closer to its citizens and by that better observable and controllable by the populace. Small states are more flexible and are better at reacting and adapting to challenges. Furthermore, there is a tendency that small states are more peaceful, because they can’t produce all goods and services by themselves and are thereby dependent on undisturbed trade.

How far can the principle of small states go? You are for example open to the idea of Bavaria seceding from Germany, or Upper Bavaria then from the rest of Bavaria. Ludwig von Mises stopped at the communal level, thinking that the secession of individuals would be unrealistic. You as well? Is there a point when your rule – the more decentralized the better – is not true anymore?

Philipp Bagus (PB): In principle not. We don’t want to arrogate, however, to know the optimal size and to say that this state is too small and that one too big. The optimal size would be determined in competition through the right of secession. If an apartment tower or street secedes from its municipality and then concludes that there are problems which were previously done better, then the secession could be revoked and the two entities reunited.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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