The Economic Impact of Partition

The economic impact of partition is an overall increase of administration costs and greater inequality between the newly separate countries.

The nationalist desire for political autonomy has led to separatist pressures within several countries, including Britain, Belgium and Spain for example.  Scotland narrowly decided to remain in the United Kingdom in 2014, after it had been promised increased devolved powers.  As described later (, partition is politically painful – and it inevitably come at an economic cost to at least one of the new countries:

●  One part or the other would inevitably be worse off for natural resources.

●  The affordability of public services would be different in the two parts.

●  Economic inequality between them would almost certainly increase.

●  A serious economic impact of partition is the introduction of barriers to trade. It would be impeded by customs regulations and delays, if they had different trade agreements and/or standards.  If they didn’t diverge it is questionable whether they were truly independent.

●  Partition increases the total cost of government: every department must be duplicated.

There would be more jobs for politicians after the split, but most people would not benefit economically as individuals.

The same economic points apply broadly to the desire of some countries to leave the EU, as in Britain’s ‘Brexit’ decision – which is analysed later as a political phenomenon (


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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/3455.htm