By Paul Saffo, San Francisco Chronicle, July 11, 2010

Satellite map of the San Francisco Bay Area from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Satellite map of the San Francisco Bay Area from the U.S. Geological Survey.

In an age when nations have become so large that their citizens no longer identify with distant governments, city-states are political units large enough to have a global economic impact but small enough for even the most casual citizen to understand the relationships that make their city-state work.

…There are no “Welcome to the Bay Area” signs on our highways, yet we all know where we leave the rest of California and enter the Bay Area… Successful city-states have outsize economies compared to their neighbors’. If the Bay Area were to secede from California, it would instantly become the world’s 25th largest economy, ahead of Austria, Taiwan, Greece and Denmark.

If the first part of the 21st Century has given us accelerated globalization, maybe the next workable step is to think regionally with a nod toward worldwide networks of trade and communication. Futurist Paul Saffo gives us food for thought.