Around the Web

Co-editor Fred Foldvary is participating in a symposium over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.  Check him out.

Michael Mungowitz bags on Greece and the Euro Zone.

Zach Gochenour has a complimentary follow-up piece on Dr. Foldvary’s essay: Progress or Poverty: The Economics of Land and Discovery.

All Hail Azawad.  A blogger obsessed with maps from the New York Times writes about the new state’s prospects .  I have written about Azawad here, here, here, and here (oh God I hope I don’t sound like Walter Block!).

Jacques Delacroix provides even more insights into the French elections and its implications for the Euro Zone.

The collapse of the Euro Zone is kind of a big deal.  Personally, I hope the collapse only destroys the currency of the zone, and not the ability of its members to trade and work freely anywhere throughout the zone.  I also want a pony and never-ending supply of really good weed.

The European policymakers and technocrats should not have been so brash as to believe that they could unify Europe politically.  Not only is that bad for democracy, but it has also given the underlying principle behind the EU – free trade – a very bad name.  Repeat after me: large polities that are economically united and politically divided are good for everybody, but large polities that are economically and politically united are bad for everybody.

It’s even worse when you throw in concepts like Old World identities such as ethnicity into the mix and try to get everybody to play nice through the democratic process.

Mali: Let It Collapse, Duh! Part 2

I just came across an article in the New York Times via Bill Easterly, and it is very discouraging. The article is, of course, about the aspirations of Azawad, the breakaway region of Mali that just declared its independence. The article outlines the slim-to-none chances Azawad has of breaking free from the shackles of colonial legacy and African despotism:

“[…] there is little likelihood that anyone will defeat the Tuaregs on the battlefield anytime soon.

Still, they face slim odds of establishing a nation. Just ask Ahmed Abdi Habsade, a government minister in Africa’s other unrecognized state, Somaliland. ‘We have many problems,’ Mr. Habsade said in a telephone interview from Somaliland’s capital, Hargeysa. ‘The country cannot get donations from the U.N. or other governments. We are not having a budget to develop our country.’

Somaliland, which sits in the northwestern corner of Somalia, has been a de-facto independent nation for the better part of two decades, and an oasis of calm in the chaos that has swept up Somalia. Its claims to independence date from the colonial era, when it was a British protectorate while Somalia was controlled by Italy. The two states merged after independence, but the Somalilanders had almost immediate regrets, and have been trying to break free ever since.

Somaliland has had successes, including holding peaceful elections, yet it has struggled without an international stamp of Continue reading

Mali: Let It Collapse, Duh!

Mali is a landlocked state created by imperialist France in the late 19th century. Due to the Western intervention in Libya, in which NATO bombed the brutal dictator Moammar Ghaddafi out of power, a large wave of unrest has reached the Saharan states of Mali, Chad, and Niger.

Recently, a coup overthrew the democratically elected head of the Malian state, and an insurgency in the north just declared its independence from Bamako. This is a good thing, and I will get to why this event is a good thing, but first I want to lament the way in which the West is handling this secession. The West seems intent on keeping its creation alive and propped up, regardless of the incessant pulls away from these structures that post-colonial states often face. I have criticized this aspect of Western foreign policy before, in regards to Somalia, Nigeria, and Libya, but it appears that the West is much more open to the idea of its creations falling apart than it used to be. Indeed, the Daily Star, a Lebanese daily newspaper, reports: Continue reading