Dr. Stanish believes that warfare was the midwife of the first states that arose in many regions of the world, including Mesopotamia and China as well as the Americas.(Note the use of the term "complex societies" in this excerpt.)
The first states, in his view, were not passive affairs driven by forces beyond human control, like climate and geography, as some historians have supposed. Rather, they were shaped by human choice as people sought new forms of cooperation and new institutions for the more complex societies that were developing. Trade was one of these cooperative institutions for consolidating larger-scale groups; warfare was the other.
Warfare may not usually be thought of as a form of cooperation, but organized hostilities between chiefdoms require that within each chiefdom people subordinate their individual self-interest to that of the group.
“Warfare is ultimately not a denial of the human capacity for social cooperation, but merely the most destructive expression of it,” the anthropologist Lawrence H. Keeley writes in his book “War Before Civilization” (Oxford, 1996).
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