primal statesthe first STATES, believed to have arisen in the Middle East (and perhaps also in North India), from which all subsequent states – secondary states - are assumed to have developed, as both a defensive reaction to and modelled upon the first states. Fried (1967), Carneiro (1970) and Harris (1978) for example, make warfare a major factor in the origins of the first states. However, since warfare existed long before the existence of states, the decisive factors accounting for the rise of states were:
- the much closer proximity – or ‘impactation’ – of adjacent peoples in river valley societies (e.g. Mesopotamia before 3000 BC, Peru, 1st century AD, and Meso- America, AD 300) which had undergone the AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION but which were confined by natural barriers;
- the far greater competition for resources which occurred in these societies when, relative to population expansion, there may have been a DEPLETION of resources. Under conditions of food shortages and an escalation of conflicts between societies, a new coordination of populations is hypothesized as leading to an increasing incidence of warfare and the origin of states. The process involved the subordination of defeated groups within ever larger groupings, and also the incorporation of others who preferred to pay taxes and tribute rather than engage in warfare or flee beyond the reach of states.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000