Currently one perceives the state as being a rather "fixed" part of many societies. Of course its characteristics and "ideologies" vary, but for example the existence of state is I think more often justified, rather than the anarchist belief of no state.

However, since having the state has certainly started from having no state, then how has the state developed (I understand this is a broad question) and particularly how could the developers of the state legitimize their actions? Particularly, because the state would have to have been developed by some individuals, but how did these individuals claim power over others in order to have the right to decide for others? Or perhaps the development process of the state is so long, starting from some tribal councils, that it has just evolved gradually over a long time.

closed as too broad by user4012, Drunk Cynic, Alexei, sabbahillel, Federico Mar 9 '17 at 9:54

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  • The latter. It'd require a book (or several) on history/anthropology to cover details properly. – user4012 Mar 9 '17 at 6:02
  • 2
    I've voted to close this question as too broad. For a history and philosophy view on how the concept of the state was formed, look toward Plato's Republic. – Drunk Cynic Mar 9 '17 at 6:05
  • @DrunkCynic I think it's answerable in a succinct manner that is not too broad. Even if the topic was too broad. – mavavilj Mar 9 '17 at 6:08
  • Political theory is on topic here. Why the state was formed seems like an acceptable political theory question. A good answer could summarize some of the key arguments about the origins of the state without too much difficulty. – indigochild Mar 9 '17 at 15:47
  • The state was an organic outgrowth of the population. – hownowbrowncow Mar 9 '17 at 15:56

I suspect that the question might be closed as simply requiring too broad of an answer (several books), but i'll take a shot at summarizing some of the points:

  1. The state was formed when human economic activity developed a certain amount of surplus, which enabled some members of society to function as government and enforcers instead of contributing to economy directly.

    Jared Diamond covers this in Guns, Germs and Steel. Typical hunter-gatherers have no state; as they lack that surplus. This is why the early states seem to have mostly arisen in areas where argiculture flourished in ancient times.

  2. The reason it was formed is... well, at the risk of stating super obvious, because it could form; and because it was advantageous to alternatives.

    Think of an idea of a state as a meme (the Richard Dawkins "thought concept that propagates in human minds and sustains evolutionary pressure" kind, not the internet picture with words kind :).

    That idea's mental "genotype" manifested itself in a societal "phenotype" of a state.

    If it tried to manifest itself in an organism (human collective) that could sustain it; it had a chance to easily win over competing ideas: in bumper sticker terms; a militaristic tribe will organize; conquer; and eat/enslave, the consummate anarchists. So the state meme/idea survives, propagates, and wins.

  3. The reason why the state won is because it's more efficient at the main thing the state is necessary for: winning in a conflict of force.

    A state can have organized military force that's purpose trained and equipped and commanded; sustained both by above-mentioned economic surplus AND by the "winnings" from the conflict with others.

    (an interesting edge case to examine here is the only time the state loses - agains highly organized, low-overhead, mostly nomadic warrior tribes that are trained and equipped basically by their lifestyle - the pinnacle of which were of course Temuchin's Mongols. In their case, the state loses structurally - most of its resources are required to run civilian economy to produce the surplus to sustain the state and army; whereas nomads need almost no economy; foraging as they go).

  4. How it was formed?

    Nobody knows for sure (there are no written records); but how people self-organize with leaders emerging is an obviously observed pattern anywhere in human life. Someone is more strong/charismatic/"winny" than others; and they either force or convince or both enough followers that, should they follow their orders; said followers could live better off than now by getting the rest of the tribe to give them the surplus of tribe's efforts.

    You can see it happen in seemingly "anarchistic"/"egalitarian" sociums - in prison; in school; on Stack Exchange :)

  • This type of answer is broad enough. Like just to get some sort of an overview. – mavavilj Mar 9 '17 at 7:50

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