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The Breakdown of Nations

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Britain faces its most important political decision for hundreds of years - whether or not to join a common European currency. Many believe this would lead inexorably to a European superstate, so it is timely to re-examine the implications of the size of political groupings, whether they are states, nations or federations. This book shows that throughout history people who ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 31st 2001 by Green Books (first published October 24th 1978)
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Rob
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who see that one-size-fits-all-ism is evil
ok, this guy had a five-star idea, and he started writing a five-star book, and then he got lazy or distracted or lost his nerve or something. but pretty good thinking for a book written in the 1950s, as long as you skip most of the middle of the book.

Ch 1-3 are fabulous. the idea is ultra-simple: the worst problem in the world is bigness. bigness ruins everything, in at least 3 ways:

(1) if the socio-political unit we live in is too big, the individual loses any chance to influence or even und
...more
Klaus Kühnhammer
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and highly recommended. Half a century after its initial publication, this is still an extremely relevant analysis of the political and economical problems we face now
Markus
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took notice of the philosophy of Leopold Kohr after attending a lecture organised by the Leopold Kohr Akademie at the University of Salzburg (- Leopold Kohr was born 1909 in the city of Obendorf near Salzburg, most famous for being the home town of "Silent Night").
Published in 1957, "The Breakdown of Nations" was the first time Kohr laid his ideas down in the form of a monography after publishing it in shorter articles. At first his theory (often shortend as "Small is Beautiful") wasn't takin
...more
Rhys
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If an engineer knows a philosopher, be is suspected of being a spy" (135). Yeeees [chin rub].
Lauri
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant! Kohr was truly fortelling the history of the future, that is now past, by writing this book, which proves more revealing of the current history at the ever moving passage of time.

It opened my eyes and finally unified the threads of history i've picked up of the past decades from world war II till present day. It also got me thinking how, set from the collapse of soviet union, the tables are again turning ever so discreetly and yet in the plain view of the international alta
...more
Joel Blunt
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
I didn't find any of Kohr's arguments convincing, while I agree with the author's final conclusion that a decentralised federalism is the best means of organising a state, his arguments have holes big enough to drive a truck through. If one is interested in a defense of federalism, the federalist papers are a better choice.

First, his economic argument is easy to dismiss. Humanity is better off materially now than it was in the middle ages. Kohr confuses the issue by equating economic effectivene
...more
Scott
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a manifesto, not a detached and dry academic treatise. Perhaps this is why readers either treasure it or despise it. I would recommend this to anyone who wishes to know more about the concepts of devolution (seen in practice in the United Kingdom since 1997; the 'Scotland Question' is not settled, and may not ever be answered to the satisfaction of everyone involved), 'localvore' food practices, fair trade, anti-corporate dissent. I find it can be summarized in a phrase: political biodiv ...more
Alasdair Martin
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fairly decent read for most parts, first and last thirds are well written and make many good arguments, although some elements are dated and rendered obsolete by latter day events, much remains relevant and pertinent.

The conclusions were ... sounding much like the realization that the authors musings would never come to fruition and a manifesto for processing US imperialism. Slightly precognitive in some respects, and galling as a non-US citizen. I advise caution amongst US readers who should
...more
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