What does protection mean to government?

How do we promote sovereignty and stability in the developing world? The answer, according to Charles Tilly in the article War Making and State Making Organized Crime, relies in the value of the word protection. Security has historically in Western Europe determined the system of government for example, the sense of comfort in a country versus the amount of military aid to feel protected. For developing nations, protecting citizens creates a group identity and from group identity, citizens are more likely to engage in conflict in the name of sovereignty.

To provide protection, governments have had to define these services for their citizens. Governments would “simulate, stimulate, or fabricate” situations to use force legitimately to produce an increasing economy. Ultimately, war, extraction, and capital accumulation shaped Europe as violence was used to accomplish desired ends. Whether the nation’s goal included collecting tax revenue or piracy, violence was all in the name of protecting the people. In the 18th century Western Europe, monarchs indirectly ruled via local magnets backed by professional military forces. After the French Revolution, the monopoly on protection heavily increased as the monarchy was in direct control of those they ruled.

As a royal monopoly formed in Western Europe both in the private and public sector, monarchs established a regular access to capitalists. European governments learned very quickly that they could capitalize greatly off people’s need to be protected.

Frederic Lane says, “Governments are in the business of selling protection.” Since the World Wars, the United States has steadily increased the defense and acquisition budget. Through great part the United States economy boomed due to the war and the military defense sector capitalized quickly with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics. Governments around the world have monopolized the military industrial complex.

 Is it realistic to believe that governments are no longer in the business of protecting their citizens? There is undeniably no reason to think that governments love capitalizing off this need for protection. There are too many programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program draining tax dollars to believe that governments are protecting for the comfort of their citizens.


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