Secession

I’ve been thinking for a while that secession is going to be the big story for the next 20 years. Brexit is just the start.

The 20th Century was about scale. Two massive countries and their respective satellite nations squaring off in a geopolitical chess match. Whole industries being nationalized in some countries; in this country, the economy was dominated by sprawling conglomerates like General Motors, General Electric, etc.

It made sense at the time. Big scale wasn’t possible without the communication infrastructure that emerged after WWII, and things that were previously unimaginable could become a reality at a certain scale. You need tens of thousands of people’s efforts coordinated to design and build a 747, for instance.

But that world is no more. The world economy is increasingly be dominated by small, nimble organizations, while the lumbering giants of the past get left behind. And there’s an ideal size of state that is optimal for our current technology and transportation infrastructure and I suspect it’s way smaller than nation-sized.

If I had to guess, the 21st Century will be about the reemergence of the city-state. This has de facto already been happening for a while. Culturally and economically the SF Bay Area has almost nothing in common with Toledo, OH, or really, anywhere else in the country. And people have been saying forever that in an online world place doesn’t matter, but people’s movement patterns suggest it does.

If that division between the Bay Area and everywhere else continues growing, it seems inevitable that a legal split will happen. Either from San Francisco not wanting to be held back by everyone else, or from everyone else becoming resentful of San Francisco’s wealth and influence.

Just something to keep your eye on.

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