Means of production versus means of coercion: can Russian business limit the violence of a predatory state?
In their most recent works, North and his coauthors (North, D. C., J. J. Wallis, S. Webb, and B. R. Weingast. 2012. In the Shadow of Violence: Politics, Economics, and the Problems of Development. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; North, D.C., J. J. Wallis, and B. R. Weingast. 2009. Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press) name the formation of organizations capable of effectively restricting violence in society as a necessary condition for transition from developing societies to societies with sustainable economic growth. However, the mechanisms of emergence and conditions for the operation of such organizations in contemporary developing countries remain unclear. We follow the logic of formation of such organizations using the case study of collective actions of the Russian business community aimed at restricting “state violence” against business. We seek to identify the conditions leading to a shift in the choice of strategies from attempts at informal agreements with extortionists controlling means of coercion to cooperation of businessmen and trace the further evolution of organized forms of collective action. Finally, we assess to what extent the created organizations can be efficient and self-supporting in the long term.