The World’s Newest State
The 9th of July is set to represent the founding of the newest member of the international club, the Republic of South Sudan, after years of conflict in the region. Although there have been continuing disputes since the independence referendum in February this year, the think tank Chatham House has argued that secession presents a number of opportunities for peace and development.
There’s nothing controversial in the article, but I think it is worth pointing out a number of the other benefits to secession from states, generally. Competition between states will over time lead to lower tax rates as competition for investment increases, increasing human development levels. Of course development is more complicated an issue that simply lowering tax rates, but investment from abroad has proven to be a key driver in raising standards of living. Secession also reduces the centralisation of decision making, given that the new state will control a smaller area in total than the state from which it gains independence. Planning is of course best done at the individual level, but where it is done by others, local decision makers will produce better results given that they have greater knowledge of the area which they control.
Incidentally, “The Republic of South Sudan” seems to be something of an uninteresting name compared to some of the others proposed and considered, particularly “Kush Republic”.
Later: Voice of America has it that the North Sudanese have reinforced their military units deployed in an already-contested region bordering the South.