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Modern State

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Political Science
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POL101 March 7 , 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 authority • 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 nature) • 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) • Example of Afghanistan: no legitimate use of force Functions: A. Despotic (Weberian) B. Infrastructural (Regulatory) Some are good at A but not B, & some are good at neither Puzzle: How do you get a modern state? Empirical observation: you need a modern state in order to achieve economic development But you need a certain amount of wealth in order to create a modern state Alternatives: chaos & corruption (if
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