There are well recognized stages in between the tribe and the state, some of which you are pointing to, but as far as I know none are around now, so it can’t be said that “they have been around for so long, and they seem to be working.”
The “tribes” you describe with vast storehouses of pearls and gold were very probably not tribes at all. Living tribally doesn’t equate to “natural laws of conduct.” The tribe has been around for three million years—and can certainly be said to be working.
By comparison, other human social organizations were around for minuscule periods of time—and the dominant one of the present can hard to be said to be working!
updated: 17 Oct 2003