War, Revenue, and State Building: Financing the Development of the American State by Sheldon D. PollackWar, Revenue, and State Building: Financing the Development of the American State by Sheldon D. Pollack

War, Revenue, and State Building: Financing the Development of the American State

bySheldon D. Pollack

Paperback | August 20, 2009

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In a relatively short time, the American state developed from a weak, highly decentralized confederation composed of thirteen former English colonies into the foremost global superpower. This remarkable institutional transformation would not have been possible without the revenue raised by a particularly efficient system of public finance, first crafted during the Civil War and then resurrected and perfected in the early twentieth century. That revenue financed America's participation in two global wars as well as the building of a modern system of social welfare programs.

Sheldon D. Pollack shows how war, revenue, and institutional development are inextricably linked, no less in the United States than in Europe and in the developing states of the Third World. He delineates the mechanisms of political development and reveals to us the ways in which the United States, too, once was and still may be a "developing nation." Without revenue, states cannot maintain political institutions, undergo development, or exert sovereignty over their territory. Rulers and their functionaries wield the coercive powers of the state to extract that revenue from the population under their control. From this perspective, the state is seen as a highly efficient machine for extracting societal revenue that is used by the state to sustain itself.

War, Revenue, and State Building traces the sources of public revenue available to the American state at specific junctures of its history (in particular, during times of war), the revenue strategies pursued by its political leaders in response to these factors, and the consequential impact of those strategies on the development of the American state.

Title:War, Revenue, and State Building: Financing the Development of the American StateFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.2 inPublished:August 20, 2009Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801475864

ISBN - 13:9780801475863

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Editorial Reviews

"How does a presumed 'antistatist' polity maintain a military apparatus the size of all the other militaries in the world put together and a social welfare state as well? As Sheldon D. Pollack tells us, that is quite a feat, and it demands (and has gotten, since 1913), a highly efficient taxation apparatus. Whether the American state can continue to meet these extraordinary demands is the very big question Pollack asks as he reconstructs the political history of the national revenue state from the beginning to the present, enmeshing it in a rich tapestry of theoretical and comparative observations. A must for students of American political development."—Elizabeth Sanders, Cornell University