As we enter 2017 and America recovers from the recent 2016 Presidential Election a certain word is on the lips of many Americans: Secession.
With California, Texas and Florida having legitimate political thoughts on leaving the United States of America a question is popping up on everyone's mind. Could these States function as Sovereign Nations? Could my State? How would they do so?
In this 50 part series we explore each State in terms of it that State could survive as a Nation by looking at how that State currently fairs and could hypothetically fair in the terms of three categories:
Economics-This looks at how much money that State is making compared to how much it spends, what it exports and imports and how it would impact the world on an Economic scale.
Political-The Political standpoint of the State is taken into account to try to grasp an understanding on how that State would be governed as an independent Nation. The method of Government can have massive impact on the Economy and foreign affairs so it is essential to consider.
Sociocultural-What would the society and culture of this Nation look like based off of the State it is formed from? The Social and Cultural ideologies of a Nation ultimately can decide not only the role it will play to the World, but also how long it will last.
For the fourth installment of this series we take a look at the rustic State of Arkansas and if this land of simplicity and beauty can survive on its own.
Arkansas as a State
Arkansas represents the halfway mark for America's growing family of States. It was the 25th State to be admitted to the Union and was admitted in 1836. During the American Civil War it sided with the Confederacy and acted as a very important region of control for the Confederates due to it's connection to the Mississippi River. Following the Civil War the State became a hot spot for immigrants from the Northern States looking to make quick money off of the Reconstruction. This had a huge effect on the State's social and political views with it going so far as to cause warfare in the State between militias of Radical Republicans from the North and the White Supremacist group known as the Ku Klux Klan. Today Arkansas is sides heavily politically with Conservatism and has been a consistent voter for the Republican Party. Arkansas is not a heavily populated State. It's largest city and Capitol is Little Rock, with only 197,000 people calling it home. What Arkansas lacks in urban life it more than makes up for through it's natural beauty and multiple National Parks.
Arkansas is an economic curiosity. It is a relatively poor State with the average family income for it being among the lowest in America. This would lead one to assume that Arkansas would be poor as an independent Nation. The truth of the matter though is that Arkansas has two secret weapons. The first of these weapons would be the fact that it is surprisingly very self-sufficient. Arkansas has a stable manufacturing industry that is based heavily on aircraft construction, ammunition and steel production. It's agricultural sector is in good shape with cotton, poultry, rice and catfish being heavily cultivated. Tourism is alive and well due to the many areas of the State that have been left untouched by man and serve a nature lovers paradise. Arkansas also focuses more heavily on the use of renewable resources than the consumption of fossil fuels. This coupled with a decent petroleum industry means that Arkansas could easily function on it's own. The other and possibly even more valuable power of Arkansas is one you probably would not expect. Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the wealthiest corporation in the entire world and it just so happens to be based in Arkansas, along with many other major corporations. An independent Arkansas would have the immense power of these companies at it's disposal and likely take full advantage of this fact. Independent Arkansas would be immediately shaped by business to function as a bastion for the companies to expand and through this Arkansas, and these major corporations would become intertwined. Arkansas would remain wealthy as long as it maintained a relationship with its large businesses.
Arkansas would have a Government very heavily influenced by business. To encourage economic growth it would develop tax plans and regulations with the intention of allowing Arkansas based corporations such as Wal-Mart to grow in a legal environment intended for them. This would ensure that these corporations would continue to stay in Arkansas to supply jobs for State residents and stimulate the Nation's economy. Foreign Affairs of Arkansas would be heavily based on trade. Because of this it is likely that Arkansas would never play a very large geopolitical role to the world. With business playing such a heavy role in Arkansas the Nation would almost immediately be split the into two political movements, one being pro-business and the other anti-business.The Pro-Business groups would likely be more powerful than the Anti-business, but that does not mean they would be silent. There would be a deep cultural rift in the State. Those employed by the major corporations would side with them and their Pro-Business politics due to job loyalty and wish to ensure stability in the Nation. The Anti-Business groups would likely be composed of the working class members of the Nation from outside the major corporations who would try to establish workers unions and other labor ideologies that the Mega Corporations would not approve of. These groups could be comparable to the Populist parties of America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Arkansas life would be comparable to that of Nation's of the Middle East or Southeast. There would be huge differences in life for those of different economic classes. At the very top would be the high ranking officials of the major corporations based in the Nation. They would live lives of glamour and extreme value to the Nation with many of them playing prominent roles in the Government. A step below them would be the basic worker for these businesses. This "middle class" would be much smaller than that of the United States. It would also function essentially as first level citizens who have government influence but are extremely loyal to their corporations since they provide them with their wealth. Below them would be the massive lower or working class. This would be the true majority of people in Arkansas and be made up of small business owners, the poor, blue collar workers and minorities. These people would have very little true say in their Governments and because of this try desperately to get their voices heard. This would mostly be done through strikes, organization of unions and other nonviolent methods. These conflicts escalating into real civil strife is not impossible though...
Could Arkansas be a Country?
Arkansas could almost indefinitely survive on its own. The biggest struggle that it would face as a Nation would be a large class rift in its citizens that could very easily grow into a "Class War", with large scale strikes and revolts from the lower class stopping National progress. If the Nation worked past these issues; though, it would likely continue to flourish as a Republic very similar to the United States, but on a smaller scale with heavier business ties.