"...none of these padi states flourished except by slave-raiding on a substantial scale."
So says the author. "...there was no state without concentrated manpower, and there was no concentration of manpower without slavery."
Such observations fly in the face of the standard history, that as the state developed, so did civilization; that people voluntarily migrated to the protection and luxury of the state. this certainly seems not to have been the case.
But is it so surprising? When offered the choice of a life free from legalized coercion, or one where your living and breathing are by permission, which choice would most people make? Even if there was likelihood that the organized state society offered some opportunity for stability, most would choose freedom.
Consider the Great Wall; was it built to keep invaders out, or to keep the subjects in?
In any case, the history of slaving is not obscure, it is well documented because the taking of captives was one of the prime public purposes of statecraft.
It is an interesting and thought provoking subject. Where people had some choice of living under a state or living outside of it, the choice was overwhelmingly to live outside of it; conversely the primary means of populating the state was by force.
Today, the options of living outside of the state are virtually non-existent. But what of this? When there was the option, it was clear that living under the state was slavery. Just because there is no "opt-out" clause today, does this make one's life under the state any less the life of a slave?
My intent is not to equate life in a Western state to slavery in the West of the 17th and 18th century. I only raise the issue: is it any less slavery today than during times past, considering that living under the state requires a captive population, one where force must be employed to keep the people subject?