Bodley (anthropology, Washington State Univ.) argues that many contemporary global problems can be mitigated-even resolved-by reshaping the political and economic order. Central to this is the issue of scale: 'Small nations can solve human problems because they are the right size, because they have the right priorities, and because if they grow too large they can segment rather than concentrate social power.' In Bodley's estimation, ten million people is the rough upper limit for small nations. In documenting his solution to all manner of ills, Bodley embarks on a global tour that ranges from Scandinavia to Costa Rica, and from indigenous communities in the Americas to island peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific. A society's size, he believes, is more important than levels of technology or ideological detail. That small societies offer advantages, particularly that of propinquity, is unquestionable, but many of the relatively small states that Bodley cites also have a long history of democratic governance and corresponding institutions. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. * CHOICE *
The Small Nation Solution is an important and highly readable contribution to the growing body of literature on the importance and advantages of small size and scale in the creation of healthy political and economic systems. ... In order to prove his point, he presents an impressive amount of evidence suggesting that small states or small autonomies outperform larger political units in virtually all aspects of socio-economic development and governance. In addition to using data from numerous international organizations, rankings and studies, Bodley embarks on a journey around the world to present more detailed case studies of particularly successful small nations presenting different models for sustainable development. ... The Small Nations Solution is a highly informative and thought-provoking book. . . . it is nevertheless worthwhile for both those interested in studying small polities and those who look for solutions to some of the world's biggest problems. * E-International Relations *
An optimistic antidote to media reports on the future for the planet. It provides a wealth of ideas for the not-so-inevitable fate of humanity. A wonderful read. -- Laura Nader, University of California, Berkeley
In a world wracked with the ulcerating consequences of globalization, one thing stands out: sustainable solutions cannot be achieved without governance that truly prioritizes the health of its people and the environments on which they depend. John Bodley's The Small Nation Solution reminds the reader that size matters. This book is truly essential reading for world leaders, thinkers, and doers. -- Barbara Rose Johnston
Many complain about the state of the world today, but few propose solutions that match the scope of the problems we face. In this highly readable book, John Bodley shows how breaking up today's mega-nations (U.S., Russia, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc.) into small nations (fewer than ten million people) would create the conditions in which true democracy, social equity, and peace could thrive. Big nations have historically bred extremes of inequality, elitism, violence, and internal instability. Drawing on his own anthropological fieldwork as well as many historical examples, Bodley explains why restoring nations to a more manageable scale could circumvent the problems of giantism and create healthy societies in which benefits are widely distributed. Standing in the tradition of Fritz Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful, Herman Daly's concept of 'optimal size,' and Leopold Kohr's principle of confederacies among small nations, this book draws all of the strands together into a new synthesis that points the way forward to a more hopeful future. -- Clifford Cobb, creator of the Genuine Progress Indicator and co-author of Why Global Povery?