My essay from the February issue of the Milken Institute Review, “M&A for Africa,” is now available on-line (though readers must register with the Review in order to download the article). In his editor’s note to the issue, Peter Passel, the Review’s astonishingly fluent editorial architect, introduces my essay by saying that I think “out loud about an unthinkable approach to tackling Africa’s seemingly intractable economic problems.” He then quotes a pungent summary point in my own words: “Throughout history the notion of taking countries apart and reassembling them in the name of one utopian vision or another has been part of the vocabulary of tyrants. But suspend judgement for a moment. Could there be a practical way to allow the citizens of one country to express a preference to join another, and then do so? Could different parts of a failed state be parceled out among more viable neighbors?”
My essay of course provides no definitive answer or even a pretense towards one. But the thought-experiment I propose is worth mounting, even if only in the realm of ideas.