Politics and power are significant in all societies, rich or poor. In Prosperity and Violence, the

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Politics and power are significant in all societies, rich or poor. In Prosperity and Violence, the Political Economy of Development, Harvard academic Robert H. Bates gives insight on the relationship between political order and economic growth. By analyzing the revolution of agrarian societies to industrial societies, he argues that as these transitions occur, violence is often used to strengthen the system of production.
In spite of Third World countries’ similar pre-industrial history and early policies aimed at industrializing, Third World countries have not had the same growth as most European countries. Bates analyzes the process of development and concludes that this time period as an important variable in a countries’ development.
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Even though the monarch had to relinquish power to the people, it was in the monarchs advantage. They led persuared them to buy into the monarchs desire for war and as a result the monarch received more money from the people. Bates argues that some institutions in European states were forged by war. The absence of this threat would prevent the new juridical states from developing parallel institutions. In order to achieve prosperity, states require a shift from subsistence agriculture and kin-based mechanisms of enforcement to specialization within urban city centers. Rulers replace kin networks as the source for the threat of violence, which was necessary to ensure security of person, property and contracts. Bates states,"Governments pursued policies that promoted the growth of the economy and the rise of parliamentary institutions not because they wanted to but because they had to, the better to secure the resources with which to fight" (56). Rulers made themselves attractive to private creditors and encouraged their subjects to invest in capital because they believe their investments were safe. This resulted in economic growth – and, therefore, tax revenue.
Another key argument Bates presents is the importance of investing to promote economic development. Without a proficient state to control violence, people in societies will mainly focus on consumption instead of investment. It is almost human nature to think
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