What is State?

What is State?

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The query, ‘What is State?’ does not employ here to its literal meaning. Rather, it amplifies the historical development and evolution of the State. Moreover, it also explores the modern and contemporary position of the state. In order to answer the above-mentioned question, it is necessary to examine first, its nature and amiability. A philosopher named Maclver writes, “Origins are always obscure.” The same is the case of the origin of the State. For, there are various theories regarding the emergence of the ancient state. Besides, the process through which state emerged and evolved differs from the geographical positions of the world. Infect, the discoveries and inventions of the archaeology, anthropology, proto-history, and other social sciences have defined generally four types or stages of the State. Such as the stateless societies of primitive times, slave system, feudal system and finally after the birth of an industrial revolution, we have modern national Capitalist, Socialist, Democratic or Monarchical form of states.

  1. The stateless societies of primitive times:
    Generally, this age refers to the Matriarchal or Patriarchal societies where the people lived there life with families having wives, children and dependents or slaves. Their prime goal was to control sex, family and property relations. Furthermore, when people began to quarrel for the fulfillment of these needs, there arose the need for social control or power. Therefore, families collectively formed clans and the clans were mixed under a head or chief of the tribe. Thus, the problems arose as a result of property and family matters which transformed their social control of tribe into the use of political power. Before this, they had no concept or presence of political power or authority, now after these problems, practically they found armed-forces for the protection of their tribes-men. Here arose the first leader or king because the person who defended and fought for his tribe was considered the most powerful and leading figure. There it emerged the first ever kingdom of the world.
  2. Slave System:
    Having formed tribal kingdoms, now people began to live in the city-like areas. The Greek city-states existed in this era. Now the powerful kings began to subjugate the weaker tribes and enslaved indigenous people of these cities. This was the beginning of the formation of empires.
  3. Feudal System:
    It was now the medieval period that agricultural production was at its peak. Human beings till this time had seen the worst attacks of the kings and military leaders. Peoples were now divided into two classes; one were those who possessed the large areas of land (kings and barons) and others were those who had no possessions but lived their lives on the mercy of these feudal lords. Those who possessed the land had also possessed the political power over the laws of production, distribution and the consumption of everything that the serfs (the formers) produced.
  4. National states:
    During the eighteenth century, the industrial revolution had drastically changed the use of political power. At this time there arose two main parts of society; one were those who had a large amount of money and with that abundant income they were also the masters of all industrial sectors, for the others faction of society where the poor or working-class who lived their life by selling their labor. Thus, they earned as much income which was hardly enough for their subsistence. On the other hand, the people who possessed great affluence had also the power over the ways of labor. This means they were also the ones, who possessed political power. It is because they were the predecessors of feudal lords. At the time of the industrial revolution, only those people survived who possessed a large sum of money which they earned from the early labor of serfs where they had a large area of fiefs. Till this time capitalist was born who supported the private property and the free market system. In their opposition arose the communists labeling the capitalists as bourgeoisie and the workers as the proletariats. Moreover, the kingdoms of ancient times have now also appeared to be the followers of the constitutional monarchy.

Like the origin of the state, its future form also seems to be oblivion. For, in modern times the forms and types of the state have taken a very long journey and variation. Some states are democratic, while others are socialist or communist and still we have monarchial forms of states. Thus, it is difficult to judge the future form of state in this situation. Each state has its future policies. Some are trying to step back to the primitive times as do the communists, who wish to abolish private property and form a stateless society with social communal societies of early ages.

Hussain Ali Chandio

The writer is Student at Department of Political Science, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.


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