In Federalist No. 13, after addressing the utility of the union in respect to commercial relations and a navy in Federalist No. 11 and the utility of the union in respect to revenue, Hamilton then approaches the broader subject of the advantage of the union in respect to economy in government. Since we all want a more economical government, this is definitely one of the series’ must reads.
Hamilton starts off by noting that, if we have an efficient government, the money saved from one
object may be usefully applied to another, and there will be so much the less to be drawn from the pockets of the people. Is it just me, or have governments around the world forgotten this? Let’s look at North America. Every state and province has their own Department of Motor Vehicles, and every state and province issues their own licenses. And while this is probably as it should be, they all use their own, custom, systems instead of using one, common, system (or at least one system that uses the same APIs and same protocols) so they need to do extra work to get driver history data from drivers who move into the state or province. In addition, many are not able to automatically suck the basic information of the individual in from a Federal database, and we have a duplication of data that leads to propagation of errors. One system, individually administered by each state, would be much more efficient. As prove, look at multi-tenant SaaS, which is gaining traction in enterprise software. Every improvement is able to be immediately leveraged by all for one development cost. But I digress, back to one of Hamilton’s key points:
If the States are united under one government, there will be but one national civil list to support; if they are divided into several
confederacies, there will be as many different national civil lists to be provided for. The whole point of a union is strength and efficiency. Since it is true that when the dimensions of a State attain to a certain magnitude, it requires the same energy of government and the same forms of administration which are requisite in one of much greater extent, efficiency can only increase with size and scale (provided such size and scale is properly administered). The advantage of civil power is that properly organized and exerted, [it] is capable of diffusing its force to a very great extent; and can, in a manner, reproduce itself
in every part of a great empire by a judicious arrangement of subordinate institutions.
Hamilton’s final words deserve to be etched in stone:
If, in addition to the consideration of a plurality of civil lists, we take into view the number of persons who must necessarily
be employed to guard the inland communication between the different confederacies against illicit trade, and who in time
will infallibly spring up out of the necessities of revenue; and if we also take into view the military establishments which it
has been shown would unavoidably result from the jealousies and conflicts of the several nations into which the States would
be divided, we shall clearly discover that a separation would be not less injurious to the economy, than to the tranquillity,
commerce, revenue, and liberty of every part.