October 12, 2014

THE COMMON WISDOM IS ALWAYS WRONG:

The Evolution of Devolution (Barry Eichengreen, 10/10/14, Project Syndicate)

The logic of devolution is clear. Scotland, for example, may not want a bigger or smaller government than it has now, but it wants a different mix of taxes and spending. It wants more local control. The Scotland Act of 2012, scheduled to come into effect in 2016, provides a down payment on this desired autonomy. Prime Minister David Cameron, knowing which way the wind is blowing, has promised more.

But if devolution is good for Scotland, then why not for Wales and Northern Ireland? Why not also for England, for that matter? An equilibrium in which Scots vote on English laws but the English have no vote on Scottish laws will not remain an equilibrium for long.

And why stop there? Why not devolution for Yorkshire, a region with a population equal to Scotland's and an active separatist movement, and for other English regions?

A not-so-United Kingdom of regions need not be a disaster. The United States is able to function, after a fashion, as a union of 50 states of very different economic size and political complexion. Other federal states like Canada and Australia may be even better role models.

The Left is worried about rising nationalism, the Right about transnationalism, when the global trend is towards denationalization.

Posted by at October 12, 2014 10:39 AM
  

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