Oddball hypothetical: Most self-sufficient state

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?

As much as I hate to feed the already-bloated egos of Texans, I’d have to vote for the Lone Star State. Their advantages:[ul][li]Oil and natural gas in abundance[/li][li]Plenty of farmland[/li][li]Plenty of range land for cattle[/li][li]Port on Gulf of Mexico[/li][li]Aerospace industry[/li][li]Natural trade gateway between U.S. and Mexico[/li][li]Several major cities[/li][li]Abundant labor[/li][li]Abundant capital[/li][li]Tourist trade (San Antonio and South Padre Island)[/li]Solid schools[/ul]

… but, if you include trade I don’t see which state couldn’t get by just as now. If you want to build a big Berlin-wall around the state though, Texas still has it pretty good. Has it’s own air force already…

I seem to recall, way back in the recesses of my memory, it being stated that at one time, if California were its own country, its GNP would have ranked 6th in the world - one of the top five being, of course, the U.S. as a whole.

Assuming this hasn’t changed significantly, I’d say we’d do pretty well on our own :slight_smile:

Been there. Done that.

Bet your bottom dollar on it. California routinely ranks in the top ten economies in the world. Our worst showing was #12 once in the eighties.

Water pipelined from WHERE? WTF, we have the Sierra Nevadas for most of our water. It is only armpit-of-the-universe La La Land (L.A.) that needs so much imported water (see the program Cadillac Desert). If they shriveled up and blew away I’d have a hard time not dancing around joyously.

We have:[list=1]
[li]The central valley produces 50% of the nation’s produce and fruit. Places in the San Joquin valley have 500 feet of topsoil.[/li]
[li]Our own space port at Edwards and Vandenberg AFB.[/li]
[li]The finest natural harbor in the world.[/li]
[li]The economic engine of the world (Silicon Valley).[/li]
[li]The most beautiful parks in the world (Yosemite et al).[/li]
[li]Huge hydroelectric resources.[/li]
[li]Superb universities and research facilities.[/li]
[li]An incredibly diverse population.[/li]
[li]Some of the finest freeways on earth.[/li]
Need I go on? This state kicks @ss on all of the others.

Not to toot my own horn, but I say California.

We are such a big state that we have a variety of resouces available. We have both major cities and abundant farmland. There are ample oppertunities for tourism. We produce a huge variety of products, includeing three very important things…wine, cheese and films.

We have a strong public system for higher education, which means our state could continue on without sending our intellectuals elsewhere, which is a major problems for some countries.

We are no stranger to natural disasters, and have built out cities with diasters in mind, so in the event of an unforseen disaster we would probably fare better than most states (i.e. a major earthquake in Calfornia is disasterous than a major earthquake in a state that does not have stringint earthquake codes and the like.)

And, despite what more people believe, the state is pretty split ideologically between liberalism and conservatism. As liberal as I am, any state that is too far too one side or the other is gonna have problems. I think California’s population is so diverse, culturally and politcally, that it would keep us from trying the worst schemes that either side has to offer.

I’ll not deny that California has a world-class economy, and the infratructure to support it (L.A. nonwithstanding), as well as a great deal more natural beauty than Texas, plus a fairer (more comfortably habitable) climate.

But what natural resources does it have? Uranium? Coal? Oil? Natural Gas? Would it be an importer of fuels and resources, churning out manufactured goods (much like Japan)?

“Mostly Harmless :p”

Heheh…Zenster, as one Nourthern Californian to another, I’d consent as well if we just kind of cut LA out of this whole our-own-country bit.

I believe California does have some oil fields around Bakersfield (if I’m not mistaken).

I’ll confirm the Bakersfield oil wells. Plus, we have refineries, too. And we produce a fair amount of natural gas.

We also use “a variety of energy sources, including petroleum, natural gas, a lot of geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, and increasing amounts of renewable and alternative fuels, such as solar and wind energy”. Apparently we are 49th in energy use per capita in the US.

California has an abundance of minerals. here is a map of our mineral production. http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/state/980600mp.pdf

It’s not very environmentally sound, but we have lots of forest land for logging.

And you can’t forget all that food. CA has lots of farmland and a fair amount of land for cattle.

Yes, but do you Cali’s have a mint? Or, could yours be one of the first to go totally cash-less?

I’m curious why a space-program has been metioned. I’m sure it’s not necessary for a country to have one, unless of course you’re alluding to national defense.

Too bad about the fault, tho.

Here’s the next question: would the country of Cali become a socialst republic, bordering on communism?

Don’t forget the oilfields just off California’s coast, too. Mebbe we should just secede and prove it…

There is a mint in San Fransisco. Of course we would have to make our own bureau of printing and engraveing, but so would everyone else.

And while parts of California are very liberal, there are other parts that are just as conservative. I would say that California is just as likely to come up with a republican governor as a Democratic one. Don’t forget, Ronald Reagan came from here. So it is highly unlikely that California’s politics would ever become too radical to the left or the right.

Wrath wrote:

Right here in San Francisco! They’ve been minting coins of all denominations there for over a century. Oh, sure, since the 1970s the San Francisco mint has only produced Proof-quality coins for collectors, but I’ll betcha it’d be pretty easy to ramp back up to full-scale coin production for circulation.

The question is, what would our money look like? Would it have a bear on it, like on our State flag, or the Great Seal of the California Republic, like on the Highway Patrol cars?

We would be a little short in the small arms department, though. California’s draconian gun-control laws haven’t exactly encouraged gun manufacturers to set up shop here.

Let’s face it…when you live in California, it’s hard to be humble. Most of us don’t even bother trying!

I propose that we should divide the state in two. The lower border of the Northern half including a swath from Big Sur to Mount Whitney.

The upper section would be known a Superior California and the lower section to be known as Inferior California!

One important overlooked factor is nationalism – a willingness to vieiw one’s state as an independent entity. There have been various “republics” proclaimed: Texas, California, Hawaii; but they all immediately joined the U.S., rather than exist as nations. I think this factor is crucial, so I ask, what are the most “independent-minded” states? Texas, Hawaii, Alaska…The last, Alaska, is too dependent, I think, on immigrants/guest workers from other states. Hawaii might make a nice republic, and being composed of islands in the middle of a vast ocean, it has unimpeachable territorial integrity; however I wonder whether racial antagonisms would surface as, for instance, they have in Fiji since the Brits left. That leaves (as my nominee) Texas: oil-rich, bordering on an ocean and two other nations (U.S. and Mexico) and with a strong (some say overbearing) sense of it’s own worth.

“Texas: It’s Like A Whole Other Country”

Funny that the Texas Bureau of Tourism launched an advertising campaign with the above slogan just at about the same time those loony-tunes “Republic of Texas” secessionist/militia wannabes raised a ruckus. :wink:

None (or maybe that pipsqueek little island state by a nose): the American economy is too integrated. Any attempt to go it alone economically speaking would be disruptive to the USA and fatal to the state in question. No matter what kind hooch Texans smoke before making their wild-ass claims.