James Scott has spent a lifetime documenting the horrors of the modern state. But does he miss the freedoms only it can afford?
James Scott has written a series of books critical of the state and nostalgic for the supposed peaceful and cooperative hunter-gatherer past. Political scientist and legal scholar Samuel Moyn reviews Scott's work and concludes that Scott both ignores the brutality of pre-state humans and understates the benefits of states and civilization. The very qualities of equality and freedom that Scott bestows are a product of states.