John Robb had an interesting post at his personal blog “Right On: For Nations, Small is Beautiful“, arguing that smaller nation-states have an advantage over larger rivals:
“Gideon Rachman writing for the Financial Times:
The World Economic Forum’s competitiveness index suggests that five of the seven most “competitive” countries have populations of less than 10m. The Human Development Index – which ranks countries by measures such as life expectancy and education – places only one large country in its top 10: Japan.
Look at almost any league table of national welfare and small countries dominate. The International Monetary Fund’s ranking of countries by gross domestic product per capita shows that four of the five richest countries in the world have populations of less than 5m. (The US – placed fourth in wealth-per-head – is the exception.) The Global Peace Index, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranks nations by criteria such as homicide rates and prison populations and it too makes pleasant reading for pocket-sized countries. The most peaceful place on earth is, apparently, Norway (quite cold, though) and eight of the 10 most peaceful countries have populations of less than 10m.
Roll out economic portability and collective security and why not get small? The political buffet awaits…”
Hmmm. I’m not sure that small size or size at all is the critical variable here.
Looking at the WEF Report list , the only “multicultural” nations in the top twenty are the U.S., Switzerland, France, Singapore, Canada and Belgium.
Of these, Singapore is an efficient autocracy that severely punishes ethnic agitation; France, the U.S. and Switzerland have political systems whose legitimacy goes back centuries that are respected by citizens of all ethnicities; while Canada and Belgium are merely bicultural. All of these states are strongly committed to the rule of law and all of them, save Singapore, are tolerant, liberal democracies.None of these states resembles the ethnosectarian crazy quilts that are Nigeria, Russia, Lebanon, Iraq, India and so on. Or suffers from a paralyzing level of systemic corruption that plague so many potentially viable states that languish on the edge of failure and civil war.
Perhaps relative homogeneity intersecting with legitimate rule-sets is the key?