The present microscopic focus on Florida and its political minutiae has provoked a few odd trains of thought for me, as I’m sure it has for many. I’m sharing one of them here on the board in the hope that it’s an original topic for debate (a quick archive search didn’t reveal anything similar; I apologize if I missed it). I also hope it gives people something to discuss other than optical scanners, pregnant chad, and the prospects of yet another goddamn recount.
Here’s the question: Which U.S. state would be best able to survive if it were its own country?
(Okay, maybe it’s not a “Great Debate,” per se, but I think the question requires the detailed analysis and studied determination of this board, as opposed to, say, the nonchalance of “IMHO.” Read on.)
I live in Washington State. We have a somewhat limited economy, focused largely on (1) trade with the Far East, (2) aerospace, (3) software and technology, and (4) agriculture, especially fruit and grains. We have virtually no manufacturing to speak of, outside avionics, and we’re very limited in terms of raw natural resources (especially petrochemical) other than timber. We might be able to maintain a passable tourist trade, what with the coastline and the north end of the Cascades (plus traffic going through to Canada), so that’s a plus. A huge political problem is the geographic divide; the Puget Sound Basin is ultra-liberal, and the rest of the state is ultra-conservative. In general, I think that if we were left to our own devices, we may make a better go of it than, say, North Dakota, but we’d hardly be a raging success.
An obvious suggestion might be New York, but that centers on New York City rather than, say, Schenectady or Buffalo. If New York were its own country, what reason would anybody have to maintain membership in all the NY-based banks? Maybe they could be another Geneva? And beyond that, what resources do they have? All the wineries upstate, maybe?
I suspect California would probably have the best shot. They have a lot of land area, a long coastline with a couple of good port cities, and a pleasant climate with a strong agricultural base. Their Achilles heel, I think, would be their over-reliance on water pipelined in from elsewhere.
What do y’all think? Which state would do the best (and which the worst) in this scenario? How do you think your own state would do?