Bringing the State Back In

George Klosko

in Political Obligations

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199256204
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602351 | DOI:
Bringing the State Back In

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In arguing for the need for the state, this chapter establishes factual parameters within which discussions of political obligations should be conducted. Certain theorists argue that political obligations are not necessary, that various non-state organizations could fulfil the functions commonly assigned to states. However, these theorists do not satisfactorily address questions concerning the provision of essential public goods. Through detailed analysis of numerous alternative mechanisms, libertarian, free-market solutions are found to be unable to provide all necessary public goods. Similarly, technical solutions to N-person prisoner's dilemma are unsuccessful, because of the special conditions they require. Non-state mechanisms, such as the protective associations familiar from Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, are found to be unable to provide essential public goods, while the same is true of proposals based on a distinction between authority and legitimacy.

Keywords: authority; legitimacy; libertarian anarchism; non-state organizations; Nozick; N-person prisoner's dilemma; philosophical anarchism; protective associations; public goods; state

Chapter.  18150 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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