Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Migdal on my mind

A glaring omission on my part, I cannot believe I have only just read Joel Migdal. Written twenty-two years ago, this sounds so achingly familiar. On weak state leadership:

Their basic weakness in the face of continued fragmentation of social control has led them to a political style and policies – the politics of survival – that have prevented the state from enhancing its capabilities by not allowing the development of complex organisation in state institutions. Rulers have used similar styles and policies to pre-empt the development of large concentrations of social control outside the state organisation.

As long as the fragmentation of social control has continued, denying state leaders effective mass political mobilisation, rulers have been reduced to ruses and stratagems; they must build and rebuild coalitions and balances of power centres while using state resources to reinforce existing distribution of power and wealth in society. Such mechanisms may at times encourage economic growth, but they do not create a more capable, autonomous state.

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