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I am liking Weber's definition of the state less and less as time goes on. I think Weber meant it as an empirical observation of his time, rather than a theoretical category... Also, how do we talk about a geographic monopoly in legitimate force in light of Kirzner's definition of monopoly: the complete ownership of some resource necessary for production. Even today the state has a monopoly neither on the instruments of force nor on the instruments of legitimacy.

I also do not know whether 'public' and 'private' are useful categories for positive investigation, nor do I think coercion as a pre-defined praxeological category is particularly useful.

Too little time to complete my thought this morning! Merry Christmas!

We talk about "the state" as though it were the only form of government. It is not. Though the United States is moving more and more toward becoming a true state, it is arguably not yet one. There is a difference among states and other forms of governments. If anarchy does not imply an absence of governance, may there not be varieties of democratic governance that are not at all state-like? May such emerge once we have a separation of economy and state that mirrors our separations of church and state, the arts and state, and science and state?

What you laid out there doesn't seem like a "positive economic and political economy analysis", but merely a utilitarian *normative* analysis.

A truly positive argument about anarchy would be something along Hayekian evolutionary lines, arguing about whether, as a matter of fact, there's a long-term tendency towards the replacement of all state institutions with private institutions and communal self-governance arrangements. The analysis about the costs and benefits of government in terms of curbing violence, would be just one part of such a positive evolutionary analysis. After all, perhaps that the long term sustainability of an institutional arrangement amounts to preserving some optimal level of violence (which does not tend to zero).

From a normative libertarian point of view one would see that as unfortunate, while from a positive point of view that would be just something to be decided whether it's true or false.

I think Ben Powell and his colleagues found that the Somalis did better without a central government.

Weber's defn. of the State (an organization with a legitimate monopoly of the use of force) overlooked the way in which it gets it resources, namely by taking them from the private sector. So his use of the word "legitimate" is illegitimate.
The State is an institution that arrogates a legalized monopoly of force over an arbitrarily circumscribed geographical area, and which obtains its resoureces by conscription.
I have no idea what a "true" state is--one that isn't false? The differences among states are institutional details.
All democratic governments are states; and all states are leaches on the economies they claim to rule.
There cannot be a separation of economy and state that mirrors the (theoretical) separation of church and state.
As for the separation of arts and the State, and science and the State, I'm glad to learn the NEA, DARPA, NSF, NASA, etc. don't exist, and that no artist ever got a taxpayer-conscripted subsidy from Washington or from one of the 50 state capitols. And no business employing a scientist ever got a R&D subsidy. No art or science teacher/professor ever got a paycheck from the government. Thanks for setting me straight.
"The population is gradually dividing into two types-Anarchists and criminals."
--Benjamin R. Tucker

Historical methods of governing a commons tended to use coercion too, albeit one not formally organized under a state. A mob, rather.

Which assembly gets to decide the 'community-based rules'?

Good grief, are we misspelling Avner Greif's name yet again?

Greif is a common victim of the autocorrect.

There are theocracies, monarchies, republics, states, etc. The state as a form of government is a recent phenomenon, and not all governments are states. Nations, too, are distinct from states.

There are different classifications of states, but they all share at least two things in common, namely asserting a monopoly of force over "their" territory, and obtaining "their" resources by theft-crookery.
There is no distinction between government and state. A nation can be described as a group of people, but this usually breaks down on close examination.
The Jews, for instance, are often described as a "nation" or a "people" but the fact of the matter is that they are a religion.
The term nation-state is a pleonasm.
All governments are criminal gangs.

For what it's worth, a good read on historical alternatives to the nation-state is Hendrick Spruyt's _The Sovereign State and Its Competitors_.

A nation shares a common culture. A state is a particular kind of government. Not all Jews are religious, but to the extent that they may nevertheless share the same culture, they are a nation -- but not necessarily a state (or religion).

I don't think there's such a thing as a homogeneous one-size-fits-all culture, certainly not in the U.S.
Also, what about Canada and the U.S.? Two central governments, over 60 state and provincial governments, too many local governments to count. How many cultures are there looking at these areas? One? Two?
Many? It's a weasal way of viewing this.

I should point out that society, culture, and nation are all outgrowths of the free market, whereas the State is a criminal gang with or without a "constitution."

No, a nation has a common culture. Thus, the U.S. is not a nation. Thankfully. Cultures are spillover of all the spontaneous orders. Civil society is the complex interaction of all the spontaneous orders.

In response to my point that s,c&n are outgrowths of the free market (which they certainly are, unlike the State), you write, "No, a nation has
a common culture. Thus the U.S. is not a nation."
[Huh?]
Then, "Cultures are spillover of all the spontaneous orders, etc." I agree with the last part, but not the first. The U.S. is generally considereed to be a nation, just as Mexico is. Everything in the voluntary sector of life like culture, society is a spontaneous order. Everything except the State.
I guess you are defining nation in terms of culture, whereas I'm defining it in terms of geography.
I don't see what any of this has to do about my original point about the defn. of the State.

Consider an American and a Canadian residing a quarter mile from each other in the U.S. and Canada respectively. Clearly they belong to different nations (one the U.S. and one Canada), but culturally they are the same. They might work at the same firm, attend the same church, go to the same clubs, eat lunch at each other's home, golf at the same course, etc. (Okay--one likes football with three downs, the other with four. Or maybe not.)

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