The kibbutz, once lauded as an exemplar of the utopian organization, has been criticized recently as yet another illustration that socialist arrangements are inferior to cap- italist ones. In this paper, we test a number of explana- tions of what happened to the kibbutz, using an analysis of the founding rate of the kibbutz population. We find support for popular accounts that the kibbutz stagnated partly as a result of the development in Israel of capital- ism and of alternatives for structuring community rela- tions. We also find that a less recognized influence, the state, was a critical determinant of favorable and unfavor- able kibbutz outcomes. Our analysis shows that early in the twentieth century, the kibbutz flourished as a source of the order that the states to which it was subject were unable to provide. Over time, the states of Palestine and Israel developed more capacity to govern and displaced the kibbutz from the order-provision role. We also show an active rivalry, with the State of Israel attacking the kib- butz to shore up its own autonomy and in the process delegitimizing the kibbutz movement. These results sug- gest revisions to the conclusions that are typically drawn from the "kibbutz experiment." They also suggest that some organizational forms may experience symbiosis, competition, and rivalry with the state and that these fac- tors can be key determinants of the state's actions and the forms' evolution