Bonus Blog: Characteristics of a State

In the beginning of the semester we talked about the characteristics of a state. These characteristics ranged from intensive agriculture to the taxation of the people. When examining these characteristics I believe that the most important characteristic to a state is the presence of a state authority. A state authority is a system of decision making that has the ability to enforce these decisions. In other words, they have the power to make decisions and the authority needed to enforce them. This state system is responsible for organizing and maintaining all these other characteristics. They are responsible for making sure the state runs smoothly in all aspects. Without this system how would they organize their population to do anything. This system can created social stratification and ranked status throughout the state in order to maximize the state’s ability to grow and flourish. The state authority is also responsible for organizing intensive agriculture and creating specialization for the population. For example, they can assign different workers to work in different areas so that every function the state needs to accomplish can be accomplished. Some people can work in agriculture while others can work in trading and selling goods. Which brings me to my next point about state authority. There is no way that a complex economy, another characteristic of states, could function or even get running without a state authority. The complex, large scale interchange of goods and services that can make a state develop into an empire would not be possible without someone on top pulling the strings for the people. The state authority is also responsible for organizing the urban side of the state. They can decide the layout of the cities in order to maximize the space, while leaving room for temples, agriculture, housing, and even things like ball courts to entertain the population.

As you can see it is hard to imagine a state growing let alone maintaining the same level for years without a state authority. We listed six primary characteristics in class, and every single one of these characteristics would be hard to accomplish and put into place without a state authority. It would be complete chaos for the state and its population. A state authority, by giving the power and important decisions to one group, is able to act in the best interests of the state and allow it to grow and develop into the empire it can.