POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Protection Racket, Self-Ownership, Security Dilemma

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31 Jul 2011

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March 7th, 2011
Modern State
Origins and Functions of the Modern State:
Modern state is something between an empire and a city
1648, end of the Thirty Years War by means of a gradual process
Rulers expropriate the means of violence to local rulers
Historically states did not exist as we think of them, before this there were
competing centers of violence
Process of sovereignty building in Europe
State-building as a protection racket: “organized crime versus “organized crime
Project over an extended period of time, over time state-building projects are
protection brackets (people at the center go to the countryside who speak to the nobles,
and in turn the nobles speak to the peasants by asking them for their loyalty, & in
return they will provide protection)
Projects are always in progress, & never fully complete
Hobbes: from security dilemma of war of all against all to modern leviathan
Lived in England during the time of a civil war in which there appeared to be no
How can we get out of this? State of nature (natural condition) that were in
referred to as a war against all, in such a condition life is nasty, brutish, & short
The only thing that we can do is to take our individual sovereignty & to hand it
over to a sovereign above all (a leviathan only way to escape from the state of
Locke: state of nature not as bad as Hobbes says it, we still need a sovereign
however to have private property, liberty, & happiness
Raised the question I have handed my sovereignty over to the state because
the alternative is to live in a state of war, under what conditions can I withdraw my
consent? (When the state is no longer fulfilling their part; Hobbes argued that as long
as the state is providing physical security than you can never withdraw, you can never
exit it from it because we are born into this arrangement)
Weber: monopoly of legitimate use of violence within a given territory (definition of
a state)
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