Characteristics of Developed State

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Leonid Grinin:

"First of all, it is necessary to note that the developed state is more organic for society; to be more exact, the state becomes its natural political form, though the fitting process could proceed painfully and turbulently. The road to the developed state was lengthy and complicated as the developed state was the result of numerous transformations, upheavals, splits and reintegrations; within these processes there was a natural selection leading to more effective types of interaction be- tween the state and social/ethnic structures. Significant progress in state political, administrative and legal arrangements as well as ideology was needed so that the developed state could appear. On the other hand, a certain level of ethnic, social, economic, and cultural development was necessary as a result of which society becomes sufficiently consolidated socially and ethnically. It is rather essential that the developed state is not only tightly connected with the society's social and corporative structure and formalizes them in political institutions, but that it also in- fluences them much more purposefully and actively.

The developed state is centralized and complete, i.e. many features that could be absent in the early states, are necessarily present in the developed states. Such a state is formed as a result of a long period of development of administration techniques, expansion and professionalization of administrative structures, and the coordination of the state agencies to perform their various designated tasks.

Hence, the developed state is a category that denotes a natural form of political organization of a civilized society (or a group of such societies) that is characterized by a centralized organization of power, administration, coercion and order maintenance in the form of a system of special institutions, positions (titles), organs, laws (norms) and that possesses

(a) sovereignty;

(b) supremacy, legitimacy and reality of power within a certain territory and a certain circle of people; and

(c) has the capability to change relations and norms.

We have formulated here the minimum characteristics of the developed state that distinguish it from the early state:

a) The developed state has more statehood attributes which in addition are more elaborated. The developed state possesses all the statehood features mentioned below in a rather clear and systematic form: a special professional administration/coercion apparatus separated from the population; regular taxation; and an artificial territorial division. Also it always has a written law and a special culture of written documentation, registration, and control.16 Such a state cannot rely on levies and has a regular professional standing army. Archaic duties and revenues (tribute, gifts, labour-rents, revenues from state-sponsored plundering and contributions) disappear, or play subordinate roles. Taxation becomes more regular and ordered.

b) The developed state is an estate-corporative state. The social structure of the developed state becomes represented by large social groups and not by numerous tiny social layers or socio-territorial units (like autonomous cities or temples with special privileges) which are found in early states. Large ethnic groups develop instead of conglomerates of tribes and small peoples. As a result, society becomes socially quite consolidated. The estate consolidation is connected with a decline in the isolation of areas and territories, with economic unification of the society, and with more intensive contacts within the elites representing different parts of a country. With respect to states one cannot help but notice that the activities of a developed state are directed toward the legal shaping of estates, at making the society more stable, at ordering social mobility. On the other hand, both the state structure and its policies reflect the peculiarities of its social (and ethnic) arrangement; the state actively influences the social structure of society and acts as an intermediary between various estates/corporations. We can frequently observe a process of more distinct shaping of the system of titles and officials' ranks (in the latter case it is especially relevant when the ruling class is identical with the officials' corporation (what is denoted as ‘state-class’ by Cheshkov [1967: 243–245]).

c) The developed state is always a centralized state; generally, it is much more durable and stable than the early state. The developed state cannot be a political conglomerate, as was frequently the case with respect to early states. This is not just a set of territories that disintegrate as soon as the central power weakens. Of course, disintegration can be experienced by the developed states rather regularly (especially, during the transition from primitive to typical developed statehood). However, if the development of such a state continues, it is always connected with a new and tighter form of centralization within more or less the same territory. This is accounted for by the fact that the developed state is formed within a definite, historically prepared (both materially and culturally) territory with a common culture, ideology, and writing, and is supported by the development of communications, trade, a certain unification of money types, measures, law, and so on.18 Hence, the higher is the level of statehood development, the more stable it is with respect to the destabilizing influence of various crises, and the faster is its transition to the recovery growth phase.

d) The developed state is characterized by a more developed economic base. In particular, unlike the early state, the developed state cannot be formed without cereal production (let alone the fact that it cannot develop on the basis of animal husbandry), whereas some early states (first of all in Tropical Africa) were formed on the basis of such agriculture domesticates as yams, bananas, manioc, peanuts etc. (see, e.g., Bondarenko 1995: 103). The developed state cannot fail to possess an internal market, it cannot be based on subsistence economy, unlike some early states (e.g., the Inca Empire, or Egypt of the Old Kingdom period). At least some development of market relations is necessary. There should be not only some craft specialization, but also some regional specialization, that is an integrated economic organism should start its formation within the state.20

e) Many early states existed in the form of barbarian societies, whereas the developed state can only be based on a civilized society. That is why such states only develop in the areas of rather advanced civilizations (and frequently on the basis of leading ethnic groups).

f) The developed state conforms significantly better than the early state to the definition of the state as an organization of coercion functioning in order to keep the lower classes under the domination of the higher classes and to secure the exploitation of the former by the latter. In the developed state the social role of the state changes. In developed states the coercion serves the interests of upper strata (classes) in a more effective way, which makes it possible for them to exploit the lower strata and to keep them under a tight control, whereas in many early states exploitation was not very pronounced (see, e.g., Trouwborst 1987: 131; Service 1975). As the state itself takes the function of maintaining social order, it reduces the possibilities of the upper strata to solve themselves the problems of coercive support of their position. This may be realized for example, through the prohibition for them to have their own armed forces to build castles and fortresses, to apply certain coercive measures to those dependant on them. Such prohibitions and regulations increase the importance of law-courts and state administration. This (in addition to other factors) contributes to the more pronounced role of the state coercion with respect to various social groups in the developed state, as compared with the early one.

g) The presence of a new type of state ideology and/or religion. Political ideology in the broad sense of this term develops instead of primitive ideas of royal power (based on notions of mythical ancestors, ‘the concept of reciprocity and genealogical distance from the sovereign’ [Claessen and Skalník 1978a: 633], royal supernatural abilities and so on). Confucianism in China provides a telling example here (Vasilyev 1983; Lapina 1982). However, such an ideology usually had certain religious forms (e.g., the 16th century Russian treatment of Moscow as ‘the Third Rome’ see Paips 1993: 306–307). As a result, in many developed states (as was observed in China and other East Asian countries according to Martynov [1982: 6–7]) the state became sacred by itself. In areas with church-type organization of major confessions this demanded an alliance between the state and the official church (with respect to some European states see, e.g., Le Roy Ladurie 2004: 8). It is quite natural that different states entered the developed state phase in different ages. Hence, it makes sense to outline a chronology of concrete states entering this phase. However, the indicated dates refer to the beginning of the transition to developed statehood, with the main transformations taking place later, sometimes much later.22 As is known, the first states emerged in the 4th – early 3rd millennia BCE (see, e.g., Vinogradov 2000a: 150–151; Dyakonov 2000: 45–56; Baines and Yoffee 1998: 199; Wright 1977: 386; 1998), though the dates differ depending on various historical and archaeological reconstructions; of course, they also depend on the definition of the state used by different scholars. During the subsequent more than millennium and a half, the main trend in political evolution was the transformation and integration of pre-state formations and polities into early states or early state analogues; some of analogues transformed into early state; small early states and their analogues – into larger ones. In such a complex political landscape rather complex interstate, to be more precise interpolitical connections, were established. Then, in the late 3rd millennium the World System political complexity increased even more. This is connected with the beginning of the transition to large and more organized states, as well as to states of a new evolutionary type. In the late 3rd millennium BCE, formations close to the developed state first appeared – i.e. the analogues of developed states: the Third Dynasty of Ur Sumer and Middle Kingdom Egypt – but turned out to be transient (see below and Table 5). The first developed state (New Kingdom of Egypt) rose in the 16th century BCE.

In this period we observe major changes in the Egyptian economy as it becomes more intensive and productive, among other things through the use of a new type of plough, hydraulic devices, and the execution of large-scale irrigation projects. There is a considerable pro- gress in crafts, proliferation of bronze tools, development of private property and trade (Vinogradov 2000b: 370–372; Perepyolkin 2001: 259–280). In fact, it was just at this time when the evidence on market transactions and commodity exchange appeared and become numerous, when silver began to supplant grain in the function of money, though incompletely (see, e.g., Monte 1989: 167–168). Considerable changes also took place in socio-political life (Vinogradov 2000b: 370–372; Perepyolkin 2001: 259–280). Centralization increased and the monarch's autonomy decreased radically. A large military empire was created, which was accompanied by the formation of new layers of state administrators (in particular, military and civil administrators of a new type) and a redistribution of material resources in their favor. The working population became freer compared to the ‘king's servants’ of the Middle Kingdom Age, though many things regarding agrarian relations during this period remain unclear, including information about peasants' rights with respect to the land they tilled and how they were connected to the land itself (Stuchevsky 1966; 1982: 118). Within the New Kingdom we see quite a clear formation of corporate structure and a higher separation (including the hereditary character of the occupations) of various social strata: priests, warriors, craftsmen of different specializations, which became even more pronounced in subsequent epochs. This brought the structure of Egyptian society closer to the structure of estate societies and, as we have mentioned, the presence of large all-state estates is a very important feature of the developed states.

China reached this stage as a result of its first unification in the late 3rd century BCE under Qin Shi Huang.24 Changes that had taken place in the country were enormous, as Qin Shi Huang's reforms had changed the administrative system and territorial division of the country. These reforms unified legislation, the writing system, and the system of measures and weights; the money system was reformed, the Great Wall was completed, and so on. These reforms also led to enormous social transformations (Kryukov, Perelomov et al. 1983: 17–21; Perelomov 1962). T

he Roman state reached this level by the late 1st century BC, with the formation of the emperor's power. However, it is only by the late 3rd century that the Roman Empire distinctively demonstrates all the features of the developed state. In this case those distinctive features are manifested in a ‘hierarchical system of estates, hereditary ascription of people to their professions and statuses, a huge elaborated police-bureaucratic apparatus, 'theocratic' power of the Emperor, the state religion that was obligatory for all the subjects and that sanctioned the official ideology’ (Shtaerman 1968: 659; see also Petrushevsky 2003).

Byzantium was a developed state from the very beginning, because the Roman tradition was not interrupted there. Thus, it is not strange that in comparison with contemporary Barbarian kingdoms, Byzantium stood apart from the point of view of its regular and unified legislation and legal systems. According to some estimates, by the 6th century the population of the Byzantine Empire reached 50–65 million (Udal'tsova 1988: 15, 34).

As it was said above, sometimes it appears possible to speak about the beginning of the initial phase of the developed state only retrospectively, taking into consideration the further evolution of the respective state. Such changes are described by Lukonin (1987: 141, 137) with respect to Iran in the following way: ‘The early Sassanid monarchy in its essence was not very much different from the Parthian one, however, the changing circumstances helped to gradually centralize the state. The polis is replaced with the ‘royal city’, the system of semi-independent kingdoms is substituted with the unified state administrative system, the religious tolerance of the Parthian kings and multiplicity of religions are replaced with the unified state religion – Zoroastrianism... The Sassanid period is characterized by a constantly growing tendency towards centralization’. However, by the middle of the 3rd century CE, Iran can already be regarded as a developed state with the consolidation of the Sassanid dynasty. Already since the reign of the first Sassanid king, Ardashir I (227–241), major transformations took place in this country (they were caused both by purposeful governmental actions and spontaneous social processes); these transformations included the abolishment of the vassal kings and their replacement with governors, the strengthening of centralization, adoption of a new religion, formation of new estates, reform of the territorial division, change of ethnic characteristics of the population, linguistic and cultural consolidation of the country (Lukonin 1987; Novoseltsev 1995: 24, 31; see also Fry 1972; Kolesnikov 1987). Note for example, that the Shahinshah appointed the heads of the four es- tates, which comprised the nation, at the level of the whole state (Kolesnikov 1987: 185).

It may be suggested that Japan entered the developed state phase by the early 15th century, when Shōguns of the Ashikaga dynasty managed to strengthen their control over centralized power and, as a result, they came close to being in the position of absolute rulers of the country, though the period of their real power was not long (Tolstoguzov 1995: 561; Kuznetsov et al. 1988: 89).25 Centralization attempts were undertaken in Japan already since the 12th century, which among other things manifested themselves in the formation of the very institution of shogunate (1192 CE). However, it was only in the 15th century when one could detect contours of the socio-political system that reached its maturity two centuries later, during the Tokugawa shogunate: a deified Emperor who did not actually rule; concentration of real power by the Shōgun; his reliance on the military servant estate of the samurai; concentration of regional power by the local rulers (daimyō) who, however, were controlled by the Shōgun in a variety of ways. Naturally, the overall system was based on resources extracted from the tax-paying estates of peasants, craftsmen, and merchants. The samurai estate had already been formed to a sufficient degree by the 14th century when it was finally separated from the peasantry, whereas the daimyō estate began its formation just in the 15th century (Kuznetsov et al. 1988: 73, 89; Spevakovsky 1981: 12–17).

France entered this phase in the late 13th century during the reign of Philip IV the Fair (1285–1314).26 By this time in France, due to the activities of his predecessors and favorable economic development, we observe the formation of a sufficiently developed administrative apparatus, a taxation system, court system, and the general strengthening of the state. The royal domain had significantly grown, though the level of political centralization was still rather low. We can also observe the formation of estates and their political representation (les états généraux) (Lyublinskaya 1972: 94–109; Tsaturova 2002: 12–13; Hay 1975: 138). However, the Hundred Years' War retarded the process of the French statehood development. Afterwards, since the first half of the 15th century, they had to restart the political centralization process from an extremely low benchmark, when the main issue was the very survival of France and her French king (Hay 1975: 153–160).

Spain entered this phase in the late 15th century (as a result of the union of Castile and Aragon). The joint reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (1479–1504) was a turning point in Spanish history. They managed to unite the country, to strengthen the order within it, to undertake important reforms, to establish an effective control over nobility, though its strength had not been eliminated till the end (Johnson 1955: 105–106). The discovery and colonization of the New World accelerated the development of Spain.

England entered this phase in the late 15th century and the early 16th century (after the end of the War of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty coming to power). It was already Henry VII (1485–1509) who achieved much with respect to the political centralization of the country; in general, as a result of the Tudor dynasty reign that lasted more than a century, a new political system (absolute monarchy) formed and flourished in England (see Dmitrieva 1993: 163), though English absolutism was significantly different from it French (let alone Russian) counterpart (see Saprykin 1991: 207–208; Karev 1993: 160–161).

For many European countries the 16th century was a ‘period of state construction’ (Elliott 1974: 80). But this century also served as a turning point for the political evolution of such countries as Russia, India and Iran. In Russia the developed state formed in the second half of the 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1547–1584). Changes in Russia`s political and social life that took place in this period are well known. Ivan revised the law code (known as Sudebnik), created a standing army with guns (the streltsy) and improved artillery. He reformed the central and regional administration by establishing the Zemsky Sobor (a legislative body of a parliamentary type), the council of the nobles (known as the Chosen Council), the local self-government in rural regions. Then he annexed the Kazan and Astrakhan Khanates (seе, e.g., Shmidt 1999).

In India the developed state formed some time after the creation of the Mughal Empire, in the second half of the 16th century, during Akbar's reign. In contrast to its predecessor, the Delhi Sultanate (the 13th and 14th centuries) a number of whose achievements were applied within the Mughal state, the latter was a much stronger and more centralized empire. Akbar who ruled for half a century (1556–1605), united under his rule the main part of the Indian territory and conducted important reforms of state administration that in many respects continued the line of Akbar's grandfather, Babur (Azimdzhanova 1977: 152). However, the further development of Indian statehood met with considerable impediments, though in some respects (in particular with respect to the elaboration of the administrative system) it reached a considerable degree of maturity (see, e.g., Ashrafyan 1987: 230). India remained at the level of a primitive developed state, and, as a result of the long and cruel reign of Akbar's grandson, Aurangzeb, (1658–1707), the Mughal Empire began to decline and virtually self-destructed (Antonova 1979: 213–225, 233–241).

The inability for further development also manifested itself in Iran. After centuries of foreign rule, crises and stagnation, in the late 16th century and the early 17th century, during the reign of Abbas I (1587–1629) and his successors Iran became again a large and powerful state. Important reforms were conducted. At this time we can say that Iran entered again the developed state phase. However, subsequent rulers turned out to be rather incapable, and in the late 17th century and the early 18th century, economic situation in the country became critical, trade (including the foreign trade) declined, the tax burden increased, social relations between the populace and state became aggravated, and rebellions began. A political and economic crisis developed, which was aggravated by Turkish and Afghan invasions, as well as interference by foreign powers; these resulted in the extreme devastation of the country and economic stagnation. Even a temporary strengthening of Iran during the reign of Nadir-Shah who became famous due to his successful wars, including the capture of Delhi in 1739, did not change the situation for long. At the end of his life Nadir-Shah himself conducted such an irrational internal policy that after his death the country experienced political disintegration, internal wars, power struggle between various cliques. Iran virtually disintegrated again (Petrushevsky 1977; Kuznetsova 1986: 229). And as in the 18th and 19th centuries the country was under the strong influence of Russia and the European powers, its further independent development was greatly hindered.

The entrance of the Ottoman Empire into the developed state phase can also be dated to the 16th century. It appears that this transition took place during the reign of Suleiman I Kanuni (the Lawgiver) who was called the Magnificent by the Europeans (1520–1566).28 By this time we can observe the formation of a sufficiently effective military fief system that provided the Empire with a rather battle-worthy and large army. The Ottomans developed a system of registration of fief-holders (the sipahis). Suleiman elaborated it by forbidding the governors to distribute the fiefs and to confirm the rights of the fief heirs. He also conducted a number of important reforms with respect to administrative division, taxation ordering, relations between landlords and tenants. Numerous laws on the administration of various provinces (that regulated administrative organization, taxation, property relations and so on) were worked out. The level of administrative organization also was rather high by the contemporary standards (see, e.g., Findley 1989). During this time Turkey can be considered to be a sufficiently centralized empire, whose backbone was represented by the military fief (timar) system (see, e.g., Oreshkova 1986), whereas its center was one of the largest world cities of the century, Istanbul, whose population in 1550 is estimated to have been between 400 and 500 thousand (Petrosyan 1990: 72–73, 103; see also Chase-Dunn and Manning 2002: 387).

Turkey was the only Eastern empire that managed for a rather long time (and not always without success) to compete militarily with some European powers and even their alliances."