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Companies merge every day. Maybe it's time for countries to do the same, voluntarily. For the sake of discussion, let's say the two countries are the United States and China.

Obviously there are too many obstacles, all psychological, to ever allow this to happen. But it makes me wonder what the benefits could be if it happened.

You could start the discussion by imagining that the U.S. and China would maintain their own leaders and laws much the way a state has a governor and its own local ordinances. The new unified Super Government would only deal with the big issues of global security, trade, and accelerating the benefits of leveraging the resources of both countries.

The Super Government would probably need to be made of equal members from the U.S. and China, and require a 75% majority for any decisions. That limits any actions to things clearly benefitting both groups.

The first obvious benefit to this arrangement is that you wouldn't point nukes at your own nation. Second, international trade negotiations would be easier. Few countries could afford to piss off both the U.S. and China. And I am assuming there could be substantial benefits to closer economic and environmental cooperation.

You could argue that the U.S. and China can already get those benefits by agreeing to any actions that are in their mutual interest. But there is something about being labeled the same country that makes agreement more likely. For example, I know that some states in the U.S. get a bigger piece of the federal spending pie, but I'm not bothered because somehow it's all in the family.

Maybe a U.S. and China merger allows for an elegant solution to the Taiwan situation. Toss Taiwan into the merger, giving them one or two representatives in the Super Government, and a veto over any decision directly affecting their people. On one hand it's effectively no change at all, while on the other hand the leaders of China could say they unified Taiwan with China. Ta-da!

You can find lots of reasons why a merger among very different nations wouldn't work. That's no challenge. The fun part is that this thought experiment demonstrates how much we sacrifice to the limitations of human psychology. When you define some other group as part of your own, everything changes while nothing changes.
 
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-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
And just think of the possibilities if America and China were to then extend their newly-formed alliance into space! ... Oh, wait - that was the premise of the absolutely outstanding show Firefly!
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
The sci-fi show "Firefly" already explored that possibility. Happy "Unification Day", Bluebellies. (from a confirmed Browncoat)
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
How about merging all countries into one nation called "Earth." Would it eliminate war? We are not civilized enough to do that now, so it might be a way to make war illegal if not impractical.

Jerry
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
Funny that you're talking about mergers when the rest of the blogosphere is talking about secession. And you were gone for a week. I hope there isn't an ominious connection there.
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
the qualifier you give can be used on anything: there are many drawbacks, but don't focus on those, the hard part is finding the positives.

crazy nutjobs everywhere cheer your efforts.

you are too loose a cannon to be part of the one world govt crowd, but it does exist. starting a conversation by saying 'cons'(of pros and cons) are illegal and offtopic is great way to make a convoluted discussion.

its how you get a people excited about no representation(for greater good), dictatorial rule(for nimble response time to perceived threats), and in general a one world marxist government.

true democracy is rare. the norm is tyranny. i don't think many americans get that. they think combining with others (who must logically think and want the same things as us) will result in same ruleset.

i submit that granting voting rights to populace of world would result in electing the MOST corrupt politician. americans can't even vote well, and we have historic legacy, education, societal norms of voting.

granting voting rights to more of the planet's people's will dilute the fraction of clear thinking americans who do vote for liberty. in the end, this will only result in another dictatorship. in fact, the minority who vote for liberty within usa decreases all the time.
 
 
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
I think Canada & Mexico should merge, so we can be the bun surrounding you like a big juicy 100% beef burger that has just been seared and the juices dribble out the side when you push on it with a spatula, and it smells kinda burnt, but meaty too... and the there's some cheddar melted on the top of the burger, but under the bun. That can be Wisconsin.

Hmm.... must almost be lunch.
 
 
-7 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
As others have pointed out, different sizes of communities/governments/countries have been tried throughout history with varying success. The pattern seems to be start small, kick local butt, get bigger, get enormous, fall apart under bureaucratic weight. Both the US and China seem well down that path. Merging would exacerbate that.

The interesting thing is that with current technology, you could actually do away with representative democracy. Each voting citizen could potentially cast their own vote, like you can at a town meeting. Somehow I doubt it would actually improve things.

I'd like to raise a motion. I say we make we try out Scott's experiment with one state. Bye Texas!! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
Brilliant! My only problem is that it takes at least some "commonality" (either thread or threat) to get the psychological bond you are talking about. Maybe N. Korea? Maybe fake a Muslim terrorist attack on Chinese soil? Maybe the large Chinese-American contingent in the US? We need something other than trade, especially because we aren't even geographically contiguous.

 
 
Apr 20, 2009
Smaller is better. Ever been in a meeting with lots of people? Nothing ever gets accomplished.

Like Allen said, this country was founded on smaller states having control, with a larger federal govt having very limited and specific duties (ie provide for the common defense)

Like the old saying goes, "None of us is stupid as all of us"
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Arab_Republic
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
That was the original idea behind the United States of America; a "merger" of 13 independent states into a Union with LIMITED government at the Federal level. Don't hear much about State's rights any more, though, except for the Texas governor's comments about the tenth amendment last week. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." Indeed, this is what has happened here since the days of the original "progressives" (both Roosevelts, Woodrow Wilson).

Thus, the "supergovernment" of any multiple country merger scenario will become more and more powerful, as we're seeing here today (and as I suspect we'll eventually see more of in the EU).
 
 
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
My municipality and those around it merged into a regional government a few years ago. The vast suckyness that has resulted from this decission has definitely been a hard psychological pill to swallow for those in the region's East. As for myself, last year I moved to the West end and now I can't stand the way those East-enders complain about us.
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
@Dal_Tiger, those "blue parking spaces" are needed because of people like you. Your attitude towards any one even a little different than you is a good example of the psychological reasons this merger would never work. It is also an example of the kind of thinking that has caused ALL of the darkest times in world history.

I can attest to the need for those "blue spaces." My wife has fused ankles, with pins and screws. They throw her balance off. Some days she can go hiking with me. Other days I have to help her from the car to the house. Winter is the worst. She also can't move very fast (regardless of how good she feels that day) She is most vulnerable when walking across a parking lot. She can't jump out of the way when some self absorbed A-Hole or distracted mom starts to back out. Those parking spots are the right thing to do as a society. Too bad it takes legal enforcement. FYI if given a choice between two spots close to the door we will take the one that is disabled to leave the non-disabled available for some one else. We also tend to take the farthest disabled spot to leave the closer ones available for those worse off than her.
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
I havent time to read all the comments here today, but to reiterate what has already been said. Yep Scott its been done. Its called Europe. It is debatable as to whether it work or not.

I am curious as to how you would vote for your "leader" as the US has one of the most convoluted voting systems on the planet and China has a "dictatorship" How would you agree on your representitives or leader.

Vini Vidi Victi

God save England
 
 
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
The Great Wall and Wall Street under the same administration! What's not to love?

China has already pioneered 'One Nation, Two Systems' with Hong Kong... either that's working, in which case yay, or it's not, in which case there are mistakes to learn from.
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
I wonder if civil war would break out eventually, the US being the "north" and China being the "south". Maybe it'd be a good thing, much like our own civil war ended slavery.

Also, dgmartin: check out the story of the game Bioshock. Most interesting counterpoint to Rand's theories I've come across.
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
Your super government sounds very much like UN. It won't work.

China has 1.3 billion people, and US 300 million. There is no way China will accept a 50/50 split of representation. It's more like 13 : 3 representation.

Your assumption that people in the same "nation" won't nuke each other. The wars in China 1911 to 1940 were good examples of how they will happen.

Your "international trade" is simplistic. What about trade between two regions ?

You also assume that Taiwan will agree with the merger. What if they don't ? Are you going to invade ?

Yes, I agree that the barriers are all psychological, not physical (Denmark and Greenland), not economical, not even racial. And there are obvious advantages to the merger. It's just your analysis needs a bit more thought.
 
 
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
I agree with the general concept than humanity should tend to merge rather than separate more and more, but it seems that you do in part because the bad reasons, for example, it seems that the Chistates (or Usina whatever you want to call your proposed Merge) will be a new super country that would have a stronger "negotiating" persuation than each one of them separately, and we know what US and China usually do when they feel they are stronger than others... and usually that doesnt has much of negotiation...
So, trying to rescue the good part of your post, the humanity merging, why dont you make all the planet a single country? i know, we would need someone to hate, humanity is not complete without that, so we need some alien menace, but thats nothing the media cant invent...
 
 
Apr 20, 2009
No, I think that Chinmerica (or whatever) would become an anti-competitive market bully. It would start throwing its weight around, acquiring and asset-stripping Canada, gaining effective control of the weather, etc etc. It would all end in the courts, there'd be a messy unbundling and roadsign mayhem.
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
One word: Firefly...
 
 
 
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