I wrote in my post yesterday that I was confused about discussions on Scottish independence, which I’ve read on both sides or the argument, where the topic has been the viable size of countries.
Switzerland is a fairly small country, with lots of mountains, and no coastline, and is doing very well, but then Lesotho is also a fairly small country, with lots of mountains, and no coastline, and is not doing very well.
The world is big enough to find examples that can prove, or disprove, just about anything at all with respect to viability of countries.
The Cayman Islands are extremely small, and seem to do very well. That probably means that the Shetland Islands could do very well (especially if rights to oil are taken into consideration), if they they wanted to break from a future independent Scotland.
So where does it all end?
On another entirely different topic, I read in the Saturday Guardian about the Rural Reading Room project in China. There are some details here.
“How to ensure their access to books is an important issue. Central and local governments have spent a lot of money to help farmers gain access to books. The Reading Rooms in small villages have 1,500 books and 100 periodicals and newspapers, but in some of the larger ones, the Reading Rooms can have as many as 50,000 books. We are spending a lot of time and energy on citizens’ rights to know and to read.”
So – just when public libraries are being closed down in the UK to save costs, in China they are doing the exact opposite. Who’s got it right?
On another topic, here’s a short quote from Wu Shulin (邬书林), a government minister in China, on the situation of Liu Xiaobo:
“On the one hand we should protect the people’s rights to express their views; on the other, we have to ensure social stability in our laws.”
Having been through an immense amount of instability in the past 100 years, in China social stability is seen by the government and many other people as being more important than individual rights of expression.
This is something we in the West find difficult to understand.