3.4.5.5 Nationalist Separatism

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/3455.htm)

The nationalist desire for political autonomy has led to separatist pressures within several countries, including Britain, Belgium and Spain for example.  Partition, though, would 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.
  • Trade between neighbours would be impeded by customs regulations and delays, if they had different trade agreements and/or standards. If the neighbours didn’t diverge in these matters, their degree of independence would be severely limited.
  • Partition increases the total cost of government: every department has to 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 (6.6.5.8).

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