Repelling States: Evidence from Upland Southeast Asia
32 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 25, 2010
Although many economists recognize the existence of stateless orders, economists such as Cowen, Sutter, and Holcombe question how viable stateless orders are in the long run. Research documenting the historical existence of stateless societies is much more developed than our understanding of whether societies can successfully remain free of states. This article analyzes historical and anthropological evidence from societies in Southeast Asia that have avoided states for thousands of years. The article provides an overview of some of their customary legal practices and then describes the mechanisms that they use to avoid, repel, and prevent would-be states. Such stateless societies have successfully repelled states using location, specific production methods, and cultural resistance to states. A better understanding of these mechanisms provides a potential explanation for how such societies remained free of states for long periods of time.
Keywords: self-governance, stateless order, ordered anarchy, analytical anarchism
JEL Classification: N45, N95, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation