Coercion is as normal a part of life as is exchange; what matters is not its presence or magnitude but rather its structure and form. Violence can take the form of predation; it then results in mere redistribution. But violence can be rendered socially productive; it can be employed to defend property rights, thereby strengthening the incentives to engage in productive activity. To explore how violence can be rendered a source of increased welfare, we develop a model of a stateless society and then introduce a specialist in violence. Using the model and case materials, we explore the conditions under which the specialist will utilize her coercive capabilities not to engage in predation but rather to strengthen the incentives to engage in productive effort.
Bates, Robert H. "Organizing Violence." Working Paper 01–06, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2001.