Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 496
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Kovács, Balázs Áron 2019. Peace Infrastructures and State-Building at the Margins. p. 225.

    Streatfeild, Jeremy 2019. Political economy of road maintenance: a utility diagnostic. Development in Practice, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 80.

    Pospisil, Jan 2019. Peace in Political Unsettlement. p. 57.

    BÉLAND, DANIEL and KOREH, MICHAL 2019. Social Insurance as Fiscal Policy and State-Building Tool: The Development and Politics of Payroll Contributions in Israel and Canada. Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 48, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Chan, Siu-Han 2019. Silk Road to Belt Road. p. 39.

    Brehm, Hollie Nyseth Smith, Christi and Gertz, Evelyn 2019. Producing Expertise in a Transitional Justice Setting: Judges at Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts. Law & Social Inquiry, p. 1.

    Warnecke-Berger, Hannes 2019. Politics and Violence in Central America and the Caribbean. p. 261.

    Richmond, Oliver P. 2019. Peace and the Formation of Political Order. International Peacekeeping, Vol. 26, Issue. 1, p. 85.

    Richmond, Oliver P. and Mac Ginty, Roger 2019. Mobilities and peace. Globalizations, p. 1.

    Kovács, Balázs Áron 2019. Peace Infrastructures and State-Building at the Margins. p. 53.

    Beehner, Lionel 2018. State-building, Military Modernization and Cross-border Ethnic Violence in Myanmar. Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, Vol. 5, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Good, Aaron 2018. American Exception: Hegemony and the Dissimulation of the State. Administration & Society, Vol. 50, Issue. 1, p. 4.

    Schulz, Carsten-Andreas 2018. Territorial sovereignty and the end of inter-cultural diplomacy along the “Southern frontier”. European Journal of International Relations, p. 135406611881489.

    Vergara-Figueroa, Aurora 2018. Afrodescendant Resistance to Deracination in Colombia. p. 27.

    Maher, David 2018. Civil War and Uncivil Development. p. 39.

    Silve, Arthur 2018. Asset Complementarity, Resource Shocks, and the Political Economy of Property Rights. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 62, Issue. 7, p. 1489.

    Martin, Isaac W. 2018. Worlds of Taxation. p. 73.

    Di Salvatore, Jessica 2018. Obstacle to Peace? Ethnic Geography and Effectiveness of Peacekeeping. British Journal of Political Science, p. 1.

    Czuba, Karol 2018. Karamojan politics: extension of state power and formation of a subordinate political elite in northeastern Uganda. Third World Quarterly, p. 1.

    Cayli, Baris 2018. Peasants, bandits, and state intervention: The consolidation of authority in the Ottoman Balkans and Southern Italy. Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 18, Issue. 2, p. 425.

  • Print publication year: 1985
  • Online publication date: January 2010

5 - War Making and State Making as Organized Crime



If protection rackets represent organized crime at its smoothest, then war making and state making – quintessential protection rackets with the advantage of legitimacy – qualify as our largest examples of organized crime. Without branding all generals and statesmen as murderers or thieves, I want to urge the value of that analogy. At least for the European experience of the past few centuries, a portrait of war makers and state makers as coercive and self-seeking entrepreneurs bears a far greater resemblance to the facts than do its chief alternatives: the idea of a social contract, the idea of an open market in which operators of armies and states offer services to willing consumers, the idea of a society whose shared norms and expectations call forth a certain kind of government.

The reflections that follow merely illustrate the analogy of war making and state making with organized crime from a few hundred years of European experience and offer tentative arguments concerning principles of change and variation underlying the experience. My reflections grow from contemporary concerns: worries about the increasing destructiveness of war, the expanding role of great powers as suppliers of arms and military organization to poor countries, and the growing importance of military rule in those same countries. They spring from the hope that the European experience, properly understood, will help us to grasp what is happening today, perhaps even to do something about it.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Bringing the State Back In
  • Online ISBN: 9780511628283
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *