From the Comments: What is a “National Interest”? (Why not federalism?)

Michelangelo writes: I sympathize with your pro-federation views, but it is admittedly a difficult position to argue from a purist libertarian view. I would support offering statehood to Japan and South Korea, as I mentioned earlier this week.* I would not however offer the same deal to Ukraine or the Baltic states. If pressed why … Continue reading From the Comments: What is a “National Interest”? (Why not federalism?)

From the Comments: Types of Federalisms, Good and Bad

Adrián‘s response to responses by me and Michelangelo on his initial response to a comment by Michelangelo that I highlighted in a post of mine (whew!) deserves a closer look: Guys, thanks for your comments, and apologies for the delay in responding! 1. I share your love for idle speculation. I’d say my fundamental difference with … Continue reading From the Comments: Types of Federalisms, Good and Bad

From the Comments: Federalism, Small States and Central Banks

Rick Searle asks the following question after reading my argument with George Ayittey on secession in Africa: Brandon, how do you respond to the geopolitical and macro-economic arguments in favor of strong federalism rather than small-state nationalism? The experience of Central Europe after the First World War seems to offer a telling example of what … Continue reading From the Comments: Federalism, Small States and Central Banks

Imperialism or Federalism: The Occupation of South Korea

A recent op-ed in Foreign Policy highlights South Korea’s very successful rent-seeking campaign in regard to US military services: When it comes to taking charge of coalition forces here on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea has been a little gun shy. South Korea and the United States this week are celebrating the 60-year anniversary of … Continue reading Imperialism or Federalism: The Occupation of South Korea

From the Comments: Federalism, Local and Global

From a post of mine on Native American sovereignty, and prompted by the thoughts of readers, I muse a little more: Hank, Thanks for the great link. My few thoughts, I am not so sure that Native Americans would choose sovereignty over membership into the federation currently in place. I lived near a reservation in … Continue reading From the Comments: Federalism, Local and Global

Scotland, the Sudan, and Federalism Done Right

[new title] I have been blogging a lot lately on political decentralization and secession as tool for furthering this process.  I am one of those people who thinks that Karl Marx had a lot of stuff right, even though he got some other important stuff very, very wrong.  His prediction of the withering away of … Continue reading Scotland, the Sudan, and Federalism Done Right

Forthcoming: Reviving the libertarian interstate federalist tradition

One of my papers was accepted for publication in the libertarian journal The Independent Review. Here’s an excerpt: This essay aims to fill that gap by making four arguments: 1. Prominent classical liberals and libertarians have long recognized the importance of interstate federalism for not only individual liberty but security for liberal polities in the … Continue reading Forthcoming: Reviving the libertarian interstate federalist tradition

“Polycentric Sovereignty: The Medieval Constitution, Governance Quality, and the Wealth of Nations”

It is widely accepted that good institutions caused the massive increase in living standards enjoyed by ordinary people over the past two hundred years. But what caused good institutions? Scholars once pointed to the polycentric governance structures of medieval Europe, but this explanation has been replaced by arguments favoring state capacity. Here we revitalize the … Continue reading “Polycentric Sovereignty: The Medieval Constitution, Governance Quality, and the Wealth of Nations”

“The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa”

We explore the consequences of ethnic partitioning, a neglected aspect of the Scramble for Africa, and uncover the following. First, apart from the land mass and water bodies, split and non-split groups are similar across several dimensions. Second, the incidence, severity, and duration of political violence are all higher for partitioned homelands which also experience … Continue reading “The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa”

Vacation links (Monday)

“Subnational Elections, Diffusion Effects, and the Growth of the Opposition in Mexico, 1984-2000” (pdf) Types of Federalisms, Good and Bad “Structural Blockage: A Cross-National Study of Economic Dependency, State Efficacy, and Underdevelopment” (pdf) “The Political Economy of Expulsion: The Regulation of Jewish Moneylending in Medieval England” (pdf) Why not world government?