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I use "the state" to mean the institutional complex that has sovereign power over a territory; the people comprising the state, in their respective political-administrative-military roles, constitute its government. The interests of the state refer to the interests of its body of governing institutions, that generally remain stable even as the people holding the offices come and go. Examples of things that may be in the interest of a state, but not necessarily, directly, or obviously in that of its citizens, are: territorial expansion (people die in wars), alleviating national debt through austerity measures (it might work, but it would suck for consumers and businesses alike), defensive war propaganda and conscription (inadequately prepared military forces could mean you get conquered, maybe by a worse regime, but again, the flipside is people dying in wars), counter-insurgency and operations that target radical political groups (it preserves the state and the status quo, even though this might happen at the cost of the people's expressed desires), illiberal policies imposed in the name of national security, co-opting a majority church to further legitimise one's regime, social policies that target the birth rate, perhaps of certain social or ethnic groups, like bachelor taxes or monetary incentives/disincentives for having children, or restricting the right to divorce... in short, actions that strengthen the state even at the expense of the citizens. Policies that look good from the top.

Much as the theory of democracy may uphold the idea, I disagree that every citizen has a share of the state's interest. It strikes me as a case of the fallacy of division. It is my view that people, even in the best-functioning representative democracies, are de facto subjects to government rather than participants in it, and that the political class is a relatively uniform minority under little compulsion to represent its constituents adequately. Also, that most people don't know and either wouldn't understand or would disagree with a large part of what the government does.






The way the term states interests is generally used recognizes that opening up the European markets towards gene manipulated foot is a US state interest because Monsanto is an US company.

Functioning democracies in general don't wage wars to expand their territory. But even if you look at Russia you find that war is popular with most of the population and Putin's decision to wage war radically improved his approval among the Russian public.

Whether or not austerity measures are a good idea depends a lot on your beliefs about economics.

I don't think Malta is a stronger state because it restricts the right to divorce. It has a lot more to do with religion and the power of the church in Malta that can make it's interests into policy than there being an interest of the side of the government.

Policy about birthrates is generally made because it's considered to be good for everyone in the country.

In Europe it might be true that most people aren't part of the political class but it's easy to be part of the political process. Without online backslash we would likely have TTIP by now.

It used to be standard to negotiate such a treaty with the idea that the interest of the state are roughly the interest of the big corporations in that state.

The EU ombudsman nicely explains how social media arises as new player that influences the trade talk.
That doesn't mean that its certain that TTIP will be completely prevented but the public pressure will make it a different treaty than it would have been otherwise.

In the moment you resign and don't opt-out of the political class by saying that you aren't included in the interests of your state you lose your political power.

Also, that most people don't know and either wouldn't understand or would disagree with a large part of what the government does.
That doesn't mean automatically that the government isn't acting in their interests. Even if parliament doesn't act in the interest of the population there still the question of whether you call that parliament acting in the interests of the state. A better description might be to say that individual parliamentarians are looking out for their own personal interests.
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ChristianKl
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