Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote of the week: James C. Scott on the successful pre-modern state

A monopolistic protection racket that keeps the peace and fosters production and trade while extracting no more rents than the traffic will bear.

Leading Southeast Asia-focused political scientist James C. Scott on the essence of the successful pre-modern state, quoted from his insightful new book The Art of Not Being Governed.

To my mind, his definition also stands true for most modern (or should that be post-modern) states. The book, which I expect will become a new classic of Southeast Asian historiography, seeks to challenge the received wisdom about hill peoples and their relationship with the state.

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