Some writers, at least initially, had taken a neutral stance on such relationships. When organs of the state did not reach the local level this created a political vacuum. In settings where peasants or poor people felt unable to influence state officials and the ponderous bureaucracy they operated, or to gain access to the market without some help, they developed a parallel system of personalised reciprocity with the more powerful. Clients depended upon their patrons, often through the intermediary of a broker. What lay at the heart of such relationships was potentially open access combined with attempts to limit this access (Eisenstadt and Roniger 1980). The client abdicated autonomous access to the political centre and/or major markets, in order to gain mediated access on the basis of an exchange relation with a patron.