Interesting social sciences/Political science

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Origin and functions of the state.

English subtitles exist in this video. Various theories of the origin of the state. The political system as an open system.

The political system and power

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Hammurabi (standing), depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash (or possibly Marduk). Hammurabi holds his hands over his mouth as a sign of prayer (relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi's code of laws). 

Political power

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The political power is an ability to exercise social control over activity of people in the sphere of policy. The politician - controller has an opportunity to present norms, for example, in the form of laws and to apply sanctions against citizens. The politician - controller has an opportunity to introduce of political stereotypes in consciousness of citizens with help of mass media.  

The political sphere includes of relations between such social groups as strata and classes. The political sphere includes of relations between the countries. The political relations consist of the relations of the conflict and control between strata and classes. The political relations consist of the relations between the countries. Politics is the art of governance. The policy is an art of social control and conducting the social conflicts. The main examples of political conflicts is war and elections. The main examples of political norms are laws. The main examples of political sanctions is a death penalty, imprisonment, the exile, tortures.  

Is the State a tool of oppression or defender of the interests of all citizens (and rich and poor citizens)? 

From the point of view of marxism, three formations, three eras of domination of three exploiter classes – slaveholders, feudal lords and capitalists replace each other in the history of society. Slaveholders exploited of slaves, feudal lords exploited of serfs, capitalists exploited of hired workers. According to Vladimir Lenin, the state is tool of the oppression.

According to democrats and liberals, the state protects of interests of all citizens, the state protects of interests of the rich and the poor citizens, the state is a great social invention which will never disappear.    

A political system

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The political system is an open developing system which consists of such elements as the government, parliament or in other words legislative authority, political parties, army, court, police, bureaucracy. A development of political system happened in the course of historical development of society. A development of political system was shown, in particular, in an invention of all new and new elements of political system. As any open system, political system has an entrance and an exit and political system seeks to maintain balance. If challenges and threats arise on an entrance of political system, that answers have to appear to these challenges at the exit of political system. These answers have to be adequate to challenges, otherwise the political system can lose balance and political system can die from these challenges and threats.

Examples of this challenges:  

  • Threat of invasion and war from other country. The adequate answer is modernization of army with help of more modern weapon, increase in number of army and military expenses.
  • Threat of hunger among the population. The adequate answer is economic reforms, introduction of the market relations and a private property, conquest of new fertile lands in colonies, taxation by a tribute of the subdued people.
  • Rebellion on the outskirts of the country. The adequate answer is sending of troops to these areas and punishment of instigators of a mutiny, another adequate answer is the economic help to inhabitants of these margins of the country.    

Violation of balance of political system leads to civil war and mass riots. The state is a legal, lawful center of the power during period of maintaining balance. The state seeks to destroy and weaken the power of criminal world during this period by means of court and police. Criminal world is the spare illegal center of the power during period of maintaining balance. There is a weakening of the power of the state and temporary strengthening of the power of criminal world during violation of balance, during revolution, during the period of civil war and mass riots.

The criminal world takes away partially of his function at the state during this revolutionary period of history:

  • The criminal world begins to collect of taxes instead of bureaucracy in the form of racketeering (crime),
  • The criminal world begins to judge and resolve economic disputes instead of court. The criminal world begins to punish of guilty persons instead of police.

Violation of balance is named revolutionary situation. Revolution is a process when one social group takes away of political power from other social group by force of arms.  

The State

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Many definitions of notion of the state exist because scientific disputes exist around definition of this notion. In my opinion, the state is a political organization which controls activity of citizens in society. The state is a complex developing system which consists of several organizations – the government, local government, bureaucracy, army, branches of criminal justice system (police, court, prison). The government directs of all these organizations. The state is built as the bureaucratic organization, that is as hierarchy or a pyramid on the basis of administrative control. It is necessary to distinguish notions of the state as the political organization, and the state as the country having the territory. It is necessary to consider here that the state is the political organization.

The police has function of detection of facts of crime, of search of suspect people, of their arrest, of investigations of criminal case, of referral of the criminal case to the court, of delivery of the suspect man in court. The court has function of consideration of the criminal case and judgement about guilt or innocence of the defendant man. The executioner has function enforcement of the sentence – to torture or to execute of criminal man. Defendant men and criminal men are contained in prison in the conditions of strict isolation, other type of punishment (imprisonment for a certain term in prison) began to be applied instead of tortures and executions later. The purpose of this reform consists in that to try to cancel inhuman tortures and executions, inhuman corporal punishments, but this attempt couldn't be finished because it is impossible to cancel of any great social invention in society, including it is impossible to cancel of corporal punishments and prison. Anyway guard in prison or policeman has to apply of murder in case of need in the course of arrest or attempt of escape from prison of the criminal people. For example, it is impossible often to arrest of the criminal man without fight and infliction of bodily injury of actively resisting and armed criminal man. Guard can subordinate of the rebellious criminal in prison only by means of a rubber baton often. Guard can put of handcuffs on criminal man, guard can kill of criminal man, under attempt of escape from prison or attack on guard, guard can place of criminal man to the solitary prison cell and to feed with one bread and water, to maintain air temperature in prison cell not higher than +14 degrees. Other softer sanctions don't affect on some criminal men.

The food and money are necessary that to feed and to dress of ruler, his army and branches of criminal justice system (police, court, prison). Bureaucracy has this first function of taxation from citizens. This is first function of bureaucracy. Kiev Prince was forced to travel over the territory at the head of armed team and to collect of tribute from tribes subordinated to him before emergence of bureaucracy in Russia. Military revolts of subordinated to him tribes happened sometimes at that time, for example, Drevlyans have killed of Prince Igor of Kiev for this reason in 945 because of too high norm of a tribute.     

Vassal‐fief system was invented in Western Europe in the conditions of lack of bureaucracy in the Middle Ages when the vassal collected himself a tribute from serfs subject to him, vassal spent this tribute that to feed and to dress of himself and purchase of weapon.

The second function of bureaucracy were the leadership of building of irrigational systems and grandiose constructions – the Egyptian pyramids, the Chinese wall, temples, palaces and city walls in the Ancient East, building of the plants and hydroelectric power stations in the USSR.

The bureaucracy has function of control over an education system, health care, the system of social insurance, to some extent – over the sphere of economy in the modern states. There was a democratic revolution that has led to radical reform of the state in the West during the late modern period during the American Revolution. There was a system separation of three branches of the power – executive power, legislative power and judicial power.

Executive power controlled two others earlier, and these three branches control each other today. This system of separation of powers is created with the purpose to prevent cruel government of the ruler (tyrant). The ruler inherited of throne earlier, the ruler took of throne by means of military force or ruler received a throne on elections in the aristocratic senate earlier. All citizens of the country began to choose of ruler for limited term on a general election in the conditions of representative democracy today.

Decrees and actions of the ruler are limited by the law. Decrees and actions of the ruler shouldn't contradict to articles of the constitution in the conditions of representative democracy today. The ruler issued laws himself earlier, and the ruler is forced to obey laws issued by Parliament today. The parliament is a legislative power. The parliament consists from deputies. Citizens of the country have the right to elect of deputies and the president of country for limited term. The constitutional court monitors for observance of articles of the constitution. The constitution is accepted at the constituent assembly or on a referendum. Citizens have the right to elect deputies of the constituent assembly or to vote for adoption of the new constitution or against adoption of the new constitution. The state was invented in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia. Construction of irrigating systems was the main function of the state in those ancient times.

The modern state has three main functions:

  • Maintenance of public order in the country. This function is performed by branches of criminal justice system (police, court, prison)
  • Protection of borders and the territory from the external enemy. This function is performed by army.
  • Tax collection. This function is performed by bureaucracy. The financial means collected as taxes are spent for the maintenance of the government, army, branches of criminal justice system (police, court, prison), local government, the bureaucracy and also for the maintenance of education, health care, development of culture, sciences and for social policy (pensions and benefits of social welfare).

Theories of origin for the State

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Formation of the state at the different nations went by various ways. It has caused various points of view in an explanation of the causes of emergence of the state.

  • Theological theory as one of the most ancient theories of emergence of the state. Theological theory recognizes that the emergence and existence of the state is result manifestations of God's will therefore the government power is eternal, firm and submission of government power is natural. Governors act on behalf of God, and the laws issued by governors correspond to divine justice. This theological theory has found accurate expression in the remained literary monuments of the Ancient East where God hands to the Pharaoh the power and the code of laws. This theory have received widest circulation during an era of the Middle Ages and this theory had the main goal - justification of superiority of the church power over secular power. The monarch has to submit to church. However supporters of the independent imperial power, on the contrary, claimed that emperors have received the sword directly from god, but not from the Pope. Most of scientists are atheists (non-believers in God) therefore this theory is unsubstantiated for most of scientists.
  • The patriarchal theory treats origin of the state as result of historical growth of patriarchal family. Aristotle treated the state as a product of propagation, resettlements and associations of families. The government power is continuation and development of the fatherly power. This theory was developed by Confucius in China. The power of the emperor likened to the power of the father where younger people depend from senior men and citizens have to be devoted to rulers. Rulers have to care for the citizens as it is accepted in family. Robert Filmer (17 century) was a supporter of the patriarchal theory, Robert Filmer proved in the work "Patriarcha, or The Natural Power of Kings" that the power of the monarch is unlimited because power of the monarch proceeds from Adam, and Adam, in turn, has received own power from God. Adam was not only a father of mankind, but also his lord. Monarchs are Adam's successors and monarchs have inherited own power from Adam. The Russian sociologist Nikolay Mikhaylovsky (years of life: 1842 - 1904) was a follower of the patriarchal theory. This theory has received modern sounding in the idea of the state paternalism, that is acceptance by the state on themselves of care about own citizens when these citizens get into a difficult situation when citizens get into in a condition of a disease, disability or unemployment.
  • According social contract theory, the state has arisen as a result of the conclusion of social contract. People have agreed among themselves to unite in the state union, to create the government power and to submit to the government power. Social contract theory has spread in 17-18 centuries, and Hugo Grotius, Baruch Spinoza, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Alexander Radishchev were brightest representatives of this theory. They considered that the contract on formation of the state was signed between each member of society and the state. People have transferred part of own rights on social contract to the state which undertakes to protect their property and safety. These authors recognized that the state of nature preceded to the state. State of nature was interpreted by various scientists in different ways. For example, Thomas Hobbes considered that state of nature was a condition "war of all against all" (bellum omnium contra omnes). Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on the contrary, recognized that people had natural, born rights and freedoms in conditions of state of nature that state of nature was "Golden Age" of mankind. But social inequality has arisen after emergence of a private property. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, sovereignty in the state belongs to the people in general, and rulers act only as representatives of the people and rulers are obliged to report before people. Rulers can be replaced at will of the people including with help of a revolt.
  • Theory of violence explains the emergence of State with help of idea of conquest of some tribes by other tribes. Winners aspire after conquest with help of violence to strengthen of own domination and winners form the state organization for these purposes. Representative of the theory of violence Karl Kautsky (1854 - 1938) claimed that slavery arises from war with foreign tribes, the tribe of winners subordinates to itself defeated tribe, the tribe of winners appropriates of earth of defeated tribe and then the tribe of winners forces of defeated tribe to work on winners, the tribe of winners forces of defeated tribe to render tribute or taxes for benefit of winners. An enforcement apparatus arises for management of defeated tribe also. Eugen Dühring, Ludwig Gumplovich adhered to this concept. For example, the German tribe of francs has won the Roman province Gallia and the German tribe of Francs has created of the state here, the leader by the name of Clovis I directed by conquerors, the empire of Francs was created by Charlemagne. Alexander the Great has conquered Greece, Persia, Egypt and other countries of the Ancient East and Alexander the Great has created the state here. Ancient Rome has conquered the countries of the Mediterranean and Ancient Rome has created the state here.
  • Organic theory. Herbert Spencer was her leading representative. Herbert Spencer used analogies and terms from biology, Herbert Spencer compared society with a biological organism, carefully finding out their similarity and distinctions. The state reminds a brain in a social organism.
  • Marxist theory of origin of the state. Her main postulates are stated in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels works who considered that the state is a tool of oppression of poor classes in hands of a ruling class. This role of the state is provided with help of creation of enforcement apparatus (army, police, court, prison and so on).  
  • Psychological theory. One of her founders professor Leon Petrazycki (1867 - 1931) explained emergence of the state with help of special characteristics of human psyche, in particular with help of aspiration of people to submission, with help of aspiration of people to search of the authority which can subdue these people. The constant dependence of primitive people from the authority of leaders, from shamans and sorcerers, fear before their magic force led to emergence of the government power which people submit voluntarily. Such scientists as Gabriel Tarde, James George Frazer, Nikolai Korkunov, Maksim Kovalevsky adhered to the psychological theory.
  • The irrigational theory is connected with a name of the German scientist Karl August Vittfogel. Karl August Vittfogel explains of emergence of the state in the work "East despotism"with help of need of building of huge irrigational constructions in agrarian areas. And it is fact that processes of creation of huge irrigational systems were in the first city - states of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China. The layer of officials was created in this regard, officials directed these works. These works, according to Karl August Vittfogel, demanded the rigid centralized management, distribution, account and so on. This theory reflected of some real processes happening in the countries of the Ancient East.
The Invitation of the Varangians by Viktor Vasnetsov: Rurik and his brothers Sineus and Truvor arrive to the lands of ilmen Slavs.

Conclusion: in my opinion, the main reason of emergence of the state were the need to construct the system of social control in society, the system of norms (laws) and the system of sanctions (originally, mainly, such sanctions were corporal punishments). Both the leader, and the conqueror could be builders of this control system. The state has arisen in Kievan Rus' in such way as the invitation on a throne in Novgorod of Varangian (Swedish) princes – Rurik, Sineus and Truvor with team. Then the prince Oleg has conquered of Kiev and prince Oleg has made Kiev by the capital of the new country – Kievan Rus'. Varangians have taught of Russians to build of army, to issue of laws. The Norman theory has arisen later, according to this Norman theory, Russians aren't able to govern without Germans. But much and other teachers were in Russia, except Germans, for example, Greeks, Mongol - Tatars, Englishmen and Americans. By the way, Mongol - Tatars and Golden Horde have taught of Russians to collect taxes, to build bureaucracy and tyranny. Englishmen and Americans have taught of Russians to build representative democracy. Russians surpassed and won against own "teachers" in war and Russians even turned of own "teachers" into own colony sometimes, that is Russians turned of own "teachers" into own "pupils" sometimes. For example, Russia was colony of the Golden Horde from 1237 to 1480 (Tatar - Mongolian yoke). Then Russia has won against the Golden Horde under Ivan the Terrible. Russia has taken Kazan (in 1552) and Astrakhan (in 1556), as a result Russia has taken the Volga region, Siberia (The Siberian campaign of Yermak Timofeyevich in 1581 — 1585) and the Russian Far East which are the Russian colony today. The Russian emperor Peter the Great has won against Charles XII of Sweden in 1721. Peter the Great has taken away Estonia (the Russian colony till 1991), Latvia (the Russian colony till 1991), Ingria from Swedes. Peter the Great has made these lands by own colony. Then Finland became by Russian colony from 1809 to 1917. Sweden was "teacher" for Russia until this moment. The Russian empress Catherine the Great has won against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Catherine the Great has made the main part of Poland (russian colony from 1815 to 1915) and Lithuania (russian colony from 1795 to 1991) by own colony as a result of 3 partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, 1795) and victory of Russia and Britain over France under Napoleon 1 (Congress of Vienna 1815). Poland was "teacher" for Russia until this moment too. Russia has won against Germany in union with the USA, Britain and France in 1945 and Russia has made East Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia by own colonies till 1989. East Prussia together with capital Konigsberg became by region of Russia with 1945, the German population was evicted from there.

Ludwig Gumplovich

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Ludwig Gumplowicz.

The main his book is "The Race Struggle". (1883) Other his work is "The Outlines of Sociology". (1899).

Social evolution begins where one primary social group - the horde or race - faces with other similar group. According to Ludwig Gumplovich, the state has arisen in results from fight of races, tribes or hordes. The state has arisen by violent way with help of conquest and enslavement of one race by another race. Unlike other representatives of Social Darwinism and racism, Ludwig Gumplovich doesn't define of race by biologically. According to Ludwig Gumplovich, the race represents historically developed ethnic community united by the sociocultural moments. These collisions lead, at last, to conquest of weak group by strong group. The minority wins majority always thanks to military discipline and intellectual superiority of minority.

Domination of one social group over another social group has to be organized in the known way. The state is the organization of domination of minority over the majority. The state creates a family, a property and a right. The ruling class carries out domination, forcing of subordinate class to work for itself. Originally, the ruling class carries out domination with help of brute force. Subsequently, the ruling class carries out domination with help of maintenance of a certain law and order in the state. Life of the state goes like circulation: state is born, state endures the period of blossoming and perishes. Then state passes the same cycle again. Ludwig Gumplovich connects death of the state with change of a ruling class in state.

The form of government passes in any state from "unlimited" autocracy to "limited" autocracy, and the form of government comes to "representative democracy" at the end of development. Any right is order of inequality because of such history of the origin of right. Based on this view of right, Ludwig Gumplovich estimated as negative to Rule and Ludwig Gumplovich considered socialism as false theory based on the principles of freedom and equality. Such alternative exist before mankind always: or to recognize the state as the organization of domination, or to agree on anarchy which is intolerable for cultural society.

Conclusion: In my opinion society is constructed not on violence and domination, but society is constructed on social control and social conflicts. Though domination, slaveholding and violence are one of types and elements of social control. The controller can apply to defeated people except violence and softer types of sanctions – a penalty, dismissal and so on. Really, the state arose with help of conquest sometimes. And today the illegal power of criminal man arises over some territory or the sphere of business sometimes with help of violence and with help of a victory in war with other criminal groups with connivance of branches of criminal justice system. The political power was constructed with help of the armed force always and the political power will be to some extent constructed with help of the armed force always.

The history of relations between the bureaucracy, army, police and government

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The bureaucracy, army and branches of criminal justice system (police, court, prison) were invented during the same epoch (epoch of early of slaveholding formation). These three organizations have to be under control of the government, but on the contrary, bureaucracy, the police or army seek to control the government sometimes. When the bureaucracy manages to subordinate government to own influence, then a bureaucratic power arises. When the army manages to subordinate government to own influence, then military junta or military regime arises. When the political police manages to subordinate government to own influence, then a police state arises, this power is constructed on the state terror against own citizens, shadowing and denunciations.