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Similar to the comment by South Asian, I have tended to think about states more as evolved gangs, different in scale and sophistication but not so different in nature. Works of James C. Scott and Peter Leeson come to mind on this question. Both have participated in interesting conversations at Cato Unbound that are worth checking out. Scott's was just a couple of months ago and can be found at http://www.cato-unbound.org/archives/september-2010-seeing-like-a-state-a-conversation-with-james-c-scott/. Leeson's was back in August 2007 and can be found at http://www.cato-unbound.org/archives/august-2007/. His entry titled "The Feasibility of Anarchy" might be most pertinent. Nonetheless, the idea of gangsters reflecting the order of the state is compelling. It occurs to me that there might be a bit of a feedback loop wherein gangs developed into early iterations of states, which evolved they're own idiosyncrasies, which gangs in turn emulated and so on over the centuries.
Toggle Commented Nov 16, 2010 on The Dregs of States at Justin Erik Halldór Smith
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Nov 16, 2010