I think it was Robert Wright that first suggested that we can apply evolutionary principles to explain the amazing outbursts of cultural and economic progress throughout human history. How else can we explain the mind-boggling cultural achievements of Classical Greece? What was the driving force behind the Italian Renaissance? Historians may provide tens of different reasons but there is one common factor (or the lack of it) behind all these historical “anomalies”(1). It was pure darwinian evolution at work: survival of the fittest, arms race and all that.
Think about it: in classical Greece there were tens of independent city-states in a region that apart from the physical proximity, it provided a common language and a common market. The above created an evolutionary “lab” where progress of the independent city-states was a matter of life or death. And they did progress. Strong evolutionary pressures pushed human achievement to the limits and in the case of Greece they resulted to the invention of the western civilization. Slightly similar is the story with Renaissance in Italy.
The closest modern form of such a Darwinian progress machine is federalism, US style. Independent and competitive states in a wider market created this phenomenon of modern human history, the American society which, in terms of impact to the human civilization, is the modern equivalent of Classical Greece.
In few years we will have again the opportunity to change our constitution. Now, instead of lagging behind the rest of Europe with minor reforms, how about being radical pioneers for once? How about introducing federalism?
We can split the country in 6-7 regions-states with substantial independence (2), and the ability to have their own policy in education, taxes, environment etc. We can inject competition between the regions-states for attracting business and creating regional economic growth by almost eliminating financial assistance from the central government (3).
After implementing the above, labor and capital mobility will put to the states the dilemma: reform and prosper or stagnate and starve.
The result maybe a new Greek renaissance, wouldn't that be cool?
1. A reverse example is China. The most progressive and powerful country in the 15th century, China “hibernated” in the subsequent centuries. The reason was that after many wars, a peaceful empire was formed and there were no more evolutionary pressures.
2. Forget Kossovo, Greece is nationally homogenous to a great extent; the non-Greeks are mostly immigrants that can have no claim in the total autonomy of a specific region. The muslim population in Thrace will be a minority in the region-state of "Thrace-Macedonia".
3. Come to think of it, that is an indirect and neat way to curb central spending and starve the monstrous “Ελληνικό Δημόσιο”.