What the United States Can Learn from the European City-States
Over the past year and a half, we have seen some of the largest divides in US state policy in recent history. Certain states such as California have implemented heavy lockdowns, mask mandates, curfews, and other restrictions for months on end, whereas states such as South Dakota never had an official lockdown to begin with. There is now also the heated policy issue of vaccine mandates, with certain locations such as New York City and Los Angeles requiring proof of vaccination to enter almost any indoor establishment, whereas states such as Florida have outlawed the use of vaccine passports entirely.
Although it is disconcerting that certain states have chosen to enact such draconian policies, we can at least take solace in the fact that this huge divide in state policy is a step toward decentralization and self-determination.
The European Miracle
In his essay, “The Theory of Economic Development and the European Miracle” , Ralph Raico discusses how competition between the culturally similar but jurisdictionally distinct European city-states of the Middle Ages was largely responsible for the progress and economic growth that was seen in Europe in that era. Raico writes that:
the key to western development is to be found in the fact that, while Europe constituted a single civilization—Latin Christendom—it was at the same time radically decentralized. In contrast to other cultures—especially China, India, and the Islamic world—Europe comprised a system of divided and, hence, competing powers and jurisdictions.
Raico stresses that the success of this system stemmed from the fact that although the area was radically decentralized in terms of jurisdictions
Article from Mises Wire