Peter Evans, “Predatory, Developmental and Other Apparatuses,” Sociological Forum, Dec. 1989, pp. 561-87
Summary of the summary: Evans analyzes various models of the state. The neoutilitarian model (minimize the state) is compared with Weber (a coherent bureaucracy is necessary), Gerschenkron (state as surrogate entrepreneur) and Hirschman (state must provide incentives to invest). These theoretical models provide a background to compare a developmental state (Japan) with a predatory state (Zaire) and an intermediate case (Brazil).
Despite a relatively uninteresting beginning, this reading gets better as it goes on (I think) and presents a good framework for viewing the “state”. The author begins with presenting the context for his article.
Context: The “neoutilitarian model” of the state has seen a recent resurgence in popularity due to frustrations and disillusionment over the failures of post-colonial states burdened with corrupt bureaucracies. The fact that neoutilitarian thinking (basically that states are inherently “rent-seeking” or corrupt) has gained great favor in the world of development (this article written in 1989) makes the author uneasy – he feels we must look more carefully at what useful role the state might play.
What exactly is the neoutilitarian model?
Public choice theory generates the most prominent and powerful version of the neoutilitarian vision of the state:
- Assumes that incumbents in public office (like all social actors) are rational maximizers
- Incumbents require political supporters to survive and these in turn must be provided with incentives sufficient to retain their support
← The exchange relationship between incumbents (office holders) and their supporters is the essence of the state
- Office holders may distribute resources directly (jobs, subsidies, contracts, etc)
They may use their rule-making authority to create rents my restricting the ability...