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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+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
It's less about the limitations of human psychology and more about the limitations of human ability, specifically our politicians. Why do you assume that the same people who have run our government so well [/sarcasm] would suddenly do so much better on an even more massive scale?
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
Ironic timing... my company just got acquired today.
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
So the US will become Communists? is it a benefit or anti-benefit?
And the chinese guys won't have to hide in the cargo boxes to get here?
It'll never happen.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
Off topic. Here's something interesting that 60 Minutes just aired for everyone to ponder:


Apr 20, 2009
I've had a similar idea for yrs but w/US, Canada & Mexico (essentially a North American EU). Mexico gets law & order out of the deal, US gets to quit wasting $ on inneffivtive border and immigration enforcement and the Canada gets an opportunity to influence a myriad of idiotic US policies.
Apr 20, 2009
This has been tried a few times in the past, Egypt and Syria united to form a Greater Arabia, Serbia and Croatia et. al. formed Yugoslavia. Interestingly, Winston Churchill privately favored UK/USA reunification.
-10 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
You can see this in the United States today, everyone is pandering to the special interest groups. Small groups of people that want to world to be run their way, and everyone else is wrong. This is why we have lots of those little blue parking spaces so close to mall and office buildings, the ones most of us aren't allowed to use. This is also why we have Black History Month, even though most of us aren't black. These are just 2 of the many possible examples of defining a group as part of your own, where pretending we are all the same is not working. Does seeing those blue parking spaces make you understand the physically disabled better? Does studying black history for a month change your perception of all black people? I don't know the right answer to make everything work, I just know the current system isn't working.
Apr 20, 2009
While patfett makes valid points, I think Scott's intention was to think of the positives. One would be reducing the decision process for what language to learn besides the one you learned from your parents.
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2009
One of the truisms in business is that mergers never, ever give you the payoff you use to justify it in the first place, and those large companies often end up breaking up into pieces again down the road. (That's one of the things going on in banking now.) However, I think the opposite should be considered, too: countries should look at spinoffs and divestitures. In some cases, I think cities and states should do the same. Breaking California into 2-3 independent states is probably a good idea. Spinning off Alaska into its own country could be a good idea. Maybe trade North Dakota to Canada for Ontario, or for a future consideration. Taking a failed city like Detroit or Cleveland and breaking it into several pieces, giving some away to the suburbs and creating new, smaller communities is an idea that needs some strong consideration, too.
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