The decentralized America of 2040 may be a country of 71 states with populations of 8 million and under. This is the vision presented by James Bennett and Michael Lotus in their just released America 3.0. (Thanks and H/T to RR reader who sent me a copy of this book.) Their essay is based on the same reasons I have outlined over the years which call for a new structure for America’s governance. Actually, it is not so much a new structure, but one more akin to what de Tocqueville observed during his visit here in the 1830s.
Bennett and Lotus acknowledge the deep ideological divisions that have arisen since the Great Society years, and see a transformation that seeks to retain America as a single sovereign nation-state that molds itself into regions of smaller states. Each of these states will be more uniform in their political outlook, social philosophy, cultural values, and perhaps even ethnicities. The fundamental truth that will out in such a reconfiguration is that people like to live among people who share their ideologies, cultural values, and mores.
The America of 2040 will come about through its successful transit of a number of financial crises that arise for all the reasons RR readers are familiar. These give impetus for Congress to launch massive new legislative initiatives that reform national tax policy and the functions of the federal government. Most of what the feds now do will be relegated back to the states. The watchword for success will be the re-establishment of local control down to the city and county levels.