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(Ryan McMaken, Mises Wire) Because of their physical size, large states are able to exercise more state-like power than geographically smaller states—and thus exercise a greater deal of control over residents. This is in part because larger states benefit from higher barriers to emigration than smaller states. Large states can therefore better avoid one of the most significant barriers to expanding state power: the ability of residents to move away.
The significance of this in practice becomes more clear if we consider the extreme and hypothetical case of a world with a single state. In this case, a person has no other choices at all. The number of actual choices equals zero, since our hypothetical megastate has a monopoly over the entire world. That is, a single global state is the most powerful state possible and a fully-formed state in the strictest sense. It has a complete and total monopoly of force over its population since its citizens cannot escape the state even if they emigrate. There is nowhere that they can emigrate to.
On the other hand, a world composed of hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of states (or regimes of varying types) would offer many choices to residents who might wish to change their living situation.
The smaller states become, the more practical relocation options become for residents. This is due to the fact that proximity to the resources and people one desires to be near does matter as a real physical constraint. If one can escape a large state’s jurisdiction only by emigrating…