The Case for the City-State
In the Wall St. Journal, Marcia Kurapovna argues for a return to the city-state as the primary political unit in Europe:
The current discussion of how Greece and Italy can overcome their economic devastation will have little effect until these countries finally decide to stop faking their own existence. Neither country has functioned as a centralized state since their unification movements of the mid-19th century, the result of ideals more romantic than realistic. Since that time, Greece and Italy have been kept afloat by tourism, agriculture and—in Italy’s case—a knack for turning out practical products of great design.
Contrast this situation with the wealth and influence the ancient Greeks and Renaissance Italians achieved. One characteristic shared by these older societies makes all the difference: their embrace of the city-state as a political-economic model.
In both ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, democracy was not incompatible with aristocracy. Even their oligarchies were not necessarily illiberal. Yet the real strengths of the Greek and Italian city-states lay in their economic and social dynamism.
Hat tip to Andrea Marchesseti.