chapter  7
12 Pages

Struggling with States

ByPeter Lomas

This chapter speculates on the idea of a state which is likely to emerge. Borrowing the language of ontology, Alexander Wendt has argued that constituted states, as we find them in the world today, have five "essential properties": an institutional-legal order, an organization claiming a monopoly on the legitimate use of organized violence, an organization with sovereignty, a society, and territory. The chapter suggests that in the contemporary world, international theory and moral philosophy so far overlap that they should not be conceived as separate activities. Some contemporary states exhibit blatant overpopulation in terms of their material heritage, while others are markedly underpopulated. All history's lost empires, now officially discredited, had states of one sort or other at their cores; yet the perceived need for these to be incarnated by real persons merely emphasizes their unstable identity for the people born under their sway.