Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/34

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Economics Versus Politics

by the disintegration of the State, so that it had neither the means nor the will to withstand the winds of historic chance. It should be noted that Society, which flourishes only under a condition of freedom, collapsed first; there was no disposition to resist the invading hordes.

The analogy suggests a prophecy and a jeremiad. But that is not within the scope of this essay, the hypothesis of which is that Society, Government, and the State are basically economic phenomena, that a profitable understanding of these institutions will be found in economics, not in politics. This is not to say that economics can explain all the facets of these institutions, any more than the study of his anatomy will reveal all the secrets of the human being; but, as there cannot be a human being without a skeleton, so any inquiry into the mechanism of social integrations cannot bypass economic law.

For reasons that will become apparent as we go along, it is necessary to digress from the main line of thought for one chapter, which will be devoted to an examination of two theories as to the origin of the State, one being the classical theory, the other being of more recent date.