The Decline of the State: The Empirical Claim

  • Per A. Hammarlund
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan History of International Thought book series (PMHIT)


This chapter and the next shed light on how Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae describe the world around them. Here, we analyze our three authors’ accounts of the ways in which—and to what extent—the state has declined domestically. The intention is to disentangle what they claim has happened and is happening to the state from what they would like to happen and what they think will happen in the future. This is not as straight forward a process as one would expect, because all three merge their roles as observers of society with their attempts to advance a particular political agenda.l Their empirical claims often emanate not only from their rather sophisticated theories of how economics and politics work, but also how these should function. Often, they also ground their descriptions of the state on daily experiences and observations, as well as their personal versions of what amounts to common sense logic. The main complication when teasing out Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae’s empirical claims, though, is that they are virtually indistinguishable from their criticism of the state. Their portrayals are colored by their visceral dislike of what they see as the state’s restrictive practices, as well as by their perceived need to discredit the state in order to promote a better society. In short, the empirical element in the decline-of-the-state hypothesis is hardly an objective and disinterested description of events.


Global Economy Special Interest Group Liberal Democratic Party Empirical Claim International Peace 
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© Per A. Hammarlund 2005

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  • Per A. Hammarlund

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