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A modern political order stands on three interlocked legs that are hard to put in place simultaneously: a centralized state authority to contain widespread private violence, the rule of law to restrain abuse by powerholders, and an acceptable mechanism for the accountability of the rulers to the ruled. Precolonial political orders emerged in an environment where external threats loomed large, internal political fragmentation and contestation were high, and a weak incentive to build a solid fiscal base to support a viable state. The forms state formation assumed varied widely across time and among world regions. We need to identify, without falling into the trap of historicism or Eurocentrism, the conditions under which a given pathway can lead to the emergence of a viable modern political order.
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- The Making of the Modern Political Order
- Chapter 1
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