South Sudan becomes an independent nation by way of vote (and decades of civil war). Israel recently went on camera with Romania to publicly denounce Palestine’s bid to become recognized as an independent state in the UN this fall. Texas govenor Rick Perry went on the record about seceding from the United States for political gain. A county supervisor in California is talking about creating the state of South California.
But people are always trying to seced. American Revolution, Civil War, there’s an unrecognized breakaway state inside of Modova (Transnistria), the FARC in Columbia, and the effective Drug State of northwestern Mexico. Southern Mexico has been in a state of semi-rebellion since 1994. The IRA have existed in some form in Ireland for 100 years. Basques in Spain have been trying to separate from Madrid for longer than I can remember.
So what’s different now than 100 years ago? Well for starters there are about five billion more people on this planet than there were in 1927. There are two and a half times more people now than there were before the great depression. Hooray for the Green Revolution. Two hundred years ago a city-state could govern not only minor city-states, but huge tracts of land (Brazil, Canada, Louisiana Territory). The territories they controlled now have cities that are almost larger than their colonizing country’s entire population (Compare Brazil’s Sao Paulo @ 9 million vs the entire population of Portugal @ 10 million). They now control their own city states, which in turn influence the farmland and communities around them, with several, if not tens of generations of local custom and culture between them and their colonial sponsors.
We appear to have created a new class of ultra-national groups. The EU, NAFTA, NATO, the UN, The African Union, and so on. The power of the people has been subdivided again in the interest of foreign policy, and federal power seems to be stronger than ever. The problem is, with a country as large as the US (300 million and counting) and rapid population growth far from the capital city, it is very difficult to govern effectively and meet the needs and ethics of all parts of the nation. Texas has the land mass of France and half their population. California shares similar statistics, yet has nearly polar opposite politics and a cost of living so much higher than that of Texas if they had their own currency even in this economy it would be valued almost 2:1 over the Dollar. It’s no wonder people are dreaming up transnational currencies.
Eventually there becomes a point when a region or population center reaches a certain size and ideology and it breaks off to form a new state. That number is up for debate, and depends largely on the uniformity of mores and wealth of the area, but it seems to range between 5 and 20 million. There’s seven states in the US above 10 million, and 22, nearly half have a population of over 5 million.
It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see several states in the next century split over ideological and economic reasons. Even more so for third world countries.