Why states don't arise in wetlands

James C. Scott notes that states did not arise in wetland regions, and that is no accident:

"wetland societies... were, and remained, environmentally resistant to centralization and control from above. They were based on what are now called 'common property resources' -- free-living plants, animals and aquatic creatures to which the entire community had access. There was no single dominant resource that could be monopolized or controlled from the center, let alone easily taxed... A state -- even a small protostate -- requires a subsistence environment that is far simpler that the wetland ecologies we have examined." (Against the Grain, p. 57)


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