chapter  VI
8 Pages

Contemporary Dangers and Opportunities

The great change that occurred as agrarian empires and kingdoms were trans-formed into modern states put a premium on much greater loyalty and iden-ti cation with the state. It is not that agrarian states were always so tolerant because, as we have seen, there were deadly episodes of religious fanaticism that resulted in bitter wars and massacres. But generally, these states did not expect much from their subjects, only taxes and political passivity. Modern states, however, want much more from their subjects in order to make war, modernize their economies, and provide political support, while subject populations also demand more services, opportunities, and direct help from their states. Modernizing economies need to enlist better-educated and culturally more homogeneous labor forces. Education systems have to be set up, all sorts of new bureaucracies have to be sta ed and paid for, and order has to be maintained in the rapidly growing cities that can no longer rely on the kind of traditional village solidarity that used to keep people relatively safe. is is why nationalizing projects have been a central aspect of political life in the new states that emerged from fallen agrarian empires in the 19th and 20th centuries, because without them states cannot count on the support they need from those they rule.