Too Small To Fail(ed States)

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Liechtenstein, and its citizens, have long been more than a little strange. All microstates are a little strange, being, like Liechtenstein the, polar political opposite of failed states.
Failed states are plagued by institutions too weak to prop up the flaccid rule of law, and thereby permitting "shadow institutions" (the black market, organized crime, official corruption, non-governmental bases of power) to garner such a mass of power and influence so as to tear apart the thin threads of justice and stability merely by the centrifugal force of their motion.
Microstates enjoy an artificially stable state by virtue of their globally envied institutions. Usually, these were created during formative times in global history. Often they were augmented by the highly centralized, even imperial rule in place when the borders were drawn. In Liechtenstein, Vaduz was lorded over by no feudal subject and therefore beholden only to the Emperor (making it the early 18th century, European equivalent of North Carolina for carpet bagging). When Napoleon dismantled the Holy Roman Empire, of which Liechtenstein had officially been member, the tiny Principality, unlike her peers, dissolved into a state with no fealty at all save to its local princes.
Come World War I and World War II, the entire country is basically a big safe deposit box for Europe.
Set the way forward machine to 2008-2009. Banking is getting clobbered. In other words, the institutions (primarily Swiss) of banking secrecy and investment acumen, which permitted a country which otherwise lacked the critical mass to be even remotely interesting, much less worth using as a safe haven, to hold it together, are under siege.
The only real question is: Will Liechtenstein be annexed by Switzerland, or Austria?
UK Seals Deal To End Liechtenstein Tax Havens [Times Online]

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