A Theory of the State


Barzel, Yoram. A Theory of the State: Economic Rights, Legal Rights, and the Scope of the State. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. Print.

This book models the emergence of the state, and the forces that shape it. State creation is bound to protection needs. A specialized protector-ruler is efficient, but is also self-seeking. Individuals will install a ruler only after they create a mechanism to control him. Among the offshoots of the organized protection are legal system and decision-making procedures that include voting. The intitial 'state of nature' may gradually evolve into a rule-of-law state. The state endows individuals with rights by delineating what it will protect. Enforcement, however, is never perfect. People use third parties such as firms to enforce agreements. As commodities become standardized, scale economies increase. In order to exploit the economies of within-state enforcement, the state will expand the contact enforcement territory by treaty or by conquest. The force may explain the creation of rule-of-law empires.

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