Remember the concept of city-states from the ancient Greek chapter of your middle school history book? When places like Athens or Sparta reigned supreme as the dominate governing, economic and cultural entity, and the concept of a central government of Greece didn't even exist.
Yeah, well, in his new book After America
, Paul Starobin theorizes that we're headed back to that dynamic. See, Starobin concludes that, "a once-dominant America has reached the end of its global ascendancy." While he's not really sure what that means for the future, he theorizes a city-state comeback.
From an except pulished today on The National Journal's website
"How might Americans -- and the territory on which Americans live -- fare in a world of global cities? The answer, on the whole, is a hopeful one. One of the myths of Western history is that the city is a quintessentially European creation. True enough, the story generally begins with Athens and moves its way up to fifteenth-century Renaissance Florence and late-sixteenth-century Elizabethan London. But when America enters the picture, it does so in a large way, at first in imitation of the European model, with cities like colonial Boston and Philadelphia, but later with its own highly original contributions, like Los Angeles, which today ranks with New York and Chicago as an America front-rank global city. These three are likely to do well no matter what shape an After America world takes -- assuming that global warming does not put New York under water. In the second tier, San Francisco, Miami, and Atlanta face favorable prospects in a world defined by global cities."
Assuming, we aren't sunken by the seas of global warming, too. Yeah, but we aren't a Sparta or an Athens. We're like a Corinth.
But, given Miami's history of government corruption, cronyism, and a tendency towards oligarchy (hmm, where does that come from?) is it really a good idea to have the city as the only source of governance and power? Starobin points out, with a nod to Nazi Germany, that kind of corruption is a bit preferable to the corruption and violence that a nation-state can cause.