Talk:State formation

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Discredited theories[edit]

@Snooganssnoogans: has twice placed a RefImprove tag on a section with multiple references. Apparently, Snooganssnoogans is not satisfied with the date of the source. I don't know what to do with that. But figured I'd do the right thing and open up a discussion on Talk page about it. Very simple questions: 1. Have you read the sources and don't think they support the claims? and 2. Do you have alternative (more up to date) sources that claim these theories are still legit? AbstractIllusions (talk) 19:38, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

There are two sources in the section (a five-page Science article from 1970, a book chapter from 1978). I'm not disputing that there are discredited theories out there, but if we're going to add such text to wikipedia, it needs to be thoroughly sourced and accurately worded. For instance, we can't say that "These are not considered sufficient causes in recent scholarship." and then cite a source from 1978. Also, when I cite scholars who do literature reviews or challenge a body of literature, my preferred way of wording it is "According to Scholar X, this is discredited", see for instance my edit here[1]. The sources used here should be attributed to the scholars who authored them, in particular when dealing with such old sources. It's not like this is an understudied issue, so fleshing out the section shouldn't be a problem. So until the language is fixed and more sources added, I think the tag is appropriate. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:03, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
1. The tag is not the right tag, but I don't want to fight over that. 2. Why does age matter? I still don't understand your point. People don't tend to keep beating dead horses. It's not like an anthropologist in 2015 will spend time reject the "White people built states because they have bigger brains" hypothesis. Right? We can certainly change wording of the section, but the point still doesn't make sense. Do you just want newer citations that say similar things or do you want the section written in an attributed fashion? (Note, in both instances the authors were not saying that they discredited the theories, but that the theories were not considered by the field as a whole). AbstractIllusions (talk) 20:14, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Still trying to collectively improve that section. Any answers to my comment? AbstractIllusions (talk) 19:44, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Made some changes. Still don't understand the tag, but then again, I don't understand any tags. So...whatever. AbstractIllusions (talk) 00:59, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Mancur Olson[edit]

The following content was removed from Social banditry as off-topic, but may be useful here:

Mancur Olson's article "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development" provides a distinction between "stationary" and "roving" bandits.[1] Olson is an economist most famous for his work on collective action. However, he has also explored banditry when investigating state formation. Olson describes a roving bandit as one that extracts the maximum amount of resources from a population and soon departs, where as a stationary bandit settles and claims a territory while continuously taking only a portion of the citizens' income in taxes. Olson states that being a roving bandit is much more profitable than being a stationary bandit in the short run but has a negative payoff in the long run since the area's resources will be quickly exhausted. In comparison, stationary banditry is more profitable in the long run because more will be gained through continuous taxation than "migrant plunder".[2] This logic incentives roving bandits to settle down and turn anarchy into government, lead by what Olson refers to as "the first blessing of the invisible hand". Olson concludes that warlords will base their actions on how long they expect to stay in power.[1] If a bandit thinks that he/she will be in power for a long time, there are incentives to imitate a state and provide various public services for long-term profit; however, if a bandit only expects to be in power for a short time, he/she should try to seize as many goods as possible in that short amount of time.[1]

Although the bandit is acting in self-interest populations are also said to prefer, and benefit more from, stationary bandits than roving bandits. Under stationary banditry individuals maintain their incentive to invest and produce - knowing that they will only face regular taxation versus the possibility of all of their resources being extracted from them.[2] Stationary bandits also have incentives to make improvements and provide public goods in their area of control if it sufficiently increases taxable income.[1] The population also benefits because since they are a continuous source of income for the bandit he is incentivized to prevent them from being murdered or otherwise harmed.[3]

If you choose to include some of this content, please see WP:Copying within Wikipedia for licensing/attribution requirements. Sondra.kinsey (talk) 13:20, 19 June 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b c d Olson, Mancur (1993-09-01). "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development". American Political Science Review. 87 (3): 567–576. doi:10.2307/2938736. ISSN 1537-5943. 
  2. ^ a b Olson, Mancur (1993). "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development". American Political Science Review. 87 (3): 567-576. 
  3. ^ Olson, Mancur (1993). "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development". American Political Science Review. 87 (3): 567-576.