Repelling States: Evidence from Upland Southeast Asia

32 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2010

See all articles by Edward Peter Stringham

Edward Peter Stringham

Trinity College

Caleb J. Miles

Trinity College (Hartford CT) - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 25, 2010


Although many economists recognize the existence of stateless orders, economists such as Cowen, Sutter, and Holcombe question how viable stateless orders are in the long run. Research documenting the historical existence of stateless societies is much more developed than our understanding of whether societies can successfully remain free of states. This article analyzes historical and anthropological evidence from societies in Southeast Asia that have avoided states for thousands of years. The article provides an overview of some of their customary legal practices and then describes the mechanisms that they use to avoid, repel, and prevent would-be states. Such stateless societies have successfully repelled states using location, specific production methods, and cultural resistance to states. A better understanding of these mechanisms provides a potential explanation for how such societies remained free of states for long periods of time.

Keywords: self-governance, stateless order, ordered anarchy, analytical anarchism

JEL Classification: N45, N95, P16

Suggested Citation

Stringham, Edward Peter and Miles, Caleb J., Repelling States: Evidence from Upland Southeast Asia (November 25, 2010). Review of Austrian Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Edward Peter Stringham (Contact Author)

Trinity College ( email )

300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106
United States

Caleb J. Miles

Trinity College (Hartford CT) - Department of Economics ( email )

United States

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