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Brigandage, Piracy, Capitalism, and State-Formation: Transnational Crime from a Historical World-Systems Perspective (From States and Illegal Practices, P 25-61, 1999, Josiah McC. Heyman, ed. -- See NCJ-187261)

NCJ Number
Thomas W. Gallant
Date Published
37 pages
This article examines transnational crime from a historical world-systems perspective.
This global examination of brigandage, piracy, capitalism, and state formation draws the following conclusions. First, bandits and pirates ("military entrepreneurs"), rather than being archaic remnants of the pre-modern world, were directly related to the development of a capitalist world system and the formation of modern states. Second, their activities were polyvalent and shrouded in ambiguity. Third, they flourished in the capitalist world. Fourth, military entrepreneurs, especially when they operated as outlaws, facilitated capitalist penetration of the countryside by increasing monetization, encouraging marketization, and by providing a venue for upward economic mobility. Fifth, military entrepreneurs were deeply implicated in the processes of state formation and state consolidation. They became embroiled in peasant mass movements, rebellions, and even revolutions against governments and the authorities, or they participated in power struggles between big men. Finally, military entrepreneurs contributed to the demarcation of territorial states and were partly responsible for the consolidation of state power in rural areas, where they challenged the authority of the central state and prevented full articulation of numerous rural areas into the national polity. Notes, references