The Disunited States of America

Oct 15

My assigned term paper topic in Managing in a Global Economy was The Disunited States of America. The question posed was whether or not it could happen. I explored this from economic and ideological perspectives, drawing on the American Revolution and the Civil War as historical precedents. In both cases, economic pressure was the primary driver in favor of secession. Ideological division exacerbated existing economic tension.

My conclusion from the paper is that it’s unlikely to happen, at least sometime soon.

Secession in the United States is possible, but very improbable. Arguments that the government has failed in its constitutional duties and secession is the most logical course fail to capture the most likely outcome: increased economic hardship and decreased opportunity in a shrinking global economy. The economic costs and risk of global fallout is so high that a rift is unlikely to occur until conditions domestically deteriorate to a point that a significant proportion of the population believes there is no possible way to reform the existing government. Historically two very strong precedents for secession include the American Revolution and the Civil War. In both cases, economic duress was the dominant driver leading up to the conflict that brought secession. Secondary ideological divisions, of liberty in the revolutionary conflict and slavery leading up to the Civil War, compounded economic pressure, but were not sufficient on their own to lead to secession.

Here’s a prezi I created to present my term paper to my class, followed by the actual term paper.

Download The Disunited States of America

Here’s the handout I used along with the presentation. It’s a short quiz on economic aspects of the constitution. I’ll put the answers in as a comment after the presentation.

Download the handout

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