Would they agree on the right things? A generous welfare state and economic success aren’t incompatible for small nations — there are several examples of this just across the North Sea from Scotland. But since a stretch of tough economic times in the early 1990s, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland have combined their generosity with remarkable efficiency and economic savvy (Norway, with its vast oil riches, hasn’t had to make quite as many hard choices). They and other successful small states tend to balance their budgets, export more than they import, and invest heavily and smartly in infrastructure and R&D. As Skilling tells it, they have designed their economies to be globally competitive.“
Being a small country offers a lot of in-principle upside, brings with it significant risks, and is what you make it — but it’s only for serious countries,” Skilling replied when I emailed him about Scotland.
So is Scotland serious? Skilling thinks it is, but the leaders of the “Yes” movement don’t seem to be quite there yet.
I just read The Economist article linked to in this piece. It’s blackly negative about the prospects for an independent Scotland but if you do get to it, make sure you also read the comments thread. It’s far, far more interesting.