Posted by Bryn Welham and Mark Miller 
ODI’s recent publication on ‘Fiscal Governance and Statebuilding’ summarises why the creation of the modern state is closely tied to its ability to effectively raise revenue.
While typically less gripping than an ODI research publication, the latest series of the HBO television series ‘Game of Thrones’ provides a good example of how this process works in practice. Cersei Lannister, one of the pretenders to the throne, has just seen her financial reserves destroyed in a surprise attack. With few peasants left to squeeze, she turns to a shadowy foreign bank for a usurious loan to hire mercenaries from overseas. But her arch-rival, Daenerys Targaryen, appears to have no fiscal problems despite moving several huge armies around the map like chess pieces. Daenerys is generally popular with her subjects; although not afraid to use her dragons to make an example of the unwilling when necessary.