This book is a sweeping historical survey of the origins, development and nature of state power. It demonstrates that Eurasia is home to a dominant tradition of arbitrary rule mediated through military, civil and ecclesiastical servants and a marginal tradition of representative and responsible government through autonomous institutions. The former tradition finds expression in hierarchically organized and ideologically legitimated continental bureaucratic states while the latter manifests itself in the state of laws. In recent times, the marginal tradition has gained in popularity and has led to continental bureaucratic states attempting to introduce democratic and constitutional reforms. These attempts have rarely altered the actual manner in which power is exercised by the state and its elites given the deeper and historically rooted experience of arbitrary rule. Far from being remote, the arbitrary culture of power that emerged in many parts of the world continues to shape the fortunes of states. To ignore this culture of power and the historical circumstances that have shaped it comes at a high price, as indicated by the ongoing democratic recession and erosion of liberal norms within states that are democracies.
"This is a provocative book, and its introduction and conclusion have the potential to spark useful discussion (…) Summing Up: Recommended"
- M. A. Soderstrom, Aurora University in CHOICE
Introduction 1. The Realm of Chaos: The Indian Subcontinent 2. The Dragon and the Phoenix: The Chinese Civil Service State 3. Empires of Will: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Persia 4. European Orders from the Roman Empire to the Eurozone 5. From Sultanate to Secular State: The Rise and Fall of the Ottomans and the Successes and Limitations of Kemalism in Modern Turkey 6. The Origins and Legacy of Russian Autocracy 7. The Emergence and Crisis of the Japanese State of Harmony 8. The Freaks of History: The State of Laws and Britain’s Culture of Power and Governance. Conclusion.