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Matt Yglesias expresses some little-country love:

— Optimistic about small developed countries: People don’t talk about it enough, but one of the main consequences of the world becoming more peaceful and the costs of transporting goods falling is that a lot of the traditional returns to scale that used to exist for large countries have gone away. At the same time, I think smaller polities have a much easier time of focusing political attention on delivering adequate and cost-effective public services. A bunch of excellent small countries (Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Denmark) have temporarily shot themselves in the foot by signing up for the euro but this will pass. Small is beautiful.

This has a lot of truth to it but I think there are other advantages to scaling up that Yglesias neglects here. He mentions "the world becoming more peaceful" then mentions a lot of western European nations without noting that they are all to some degree part of a military alliance largely funded by the United States. Also, the whole world is not so peaceful, so even if you are a relatively poor country if you’re growing and have a population of more than a billion people at that scale you can still afford to bully your neighbors. Also, if you are big and your currency is desireable you can reap advantages; if you are small and your currency is desireable you have a problem on your hands. It’s not that Yglesias is wrong about the advantages of being small but there are advantages to being big, too. There’s a reason all these small countries hopped on the Euro train, and it wasn’t just elite cosmpolitanism run rampant

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