• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess what should be the role of the state

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess what should be the role of the state The issue of the role of the state, and the activities it should therefore undertake, is one that has long been contested by political theorists and commentators alike. The enormous span of permutations of what the state's role may involve leads to much dispute over definition, and with this, overlapping views from different thinkers and ideological groups. There is of course no real-life example that can be cited as the 'perfect' state - each society has its own unique requirements and conflicts - but human experience of the 20th century has seen the basic discrediting of some theories of state role, whilst giving credibility to others. For example, totalitarian regimes have essentially been rejected outright by the free-thinking world since the Second World War, whilst communism had very publicly fallen by the 1990s. However, the debate over what should be the role of the state continues, and seems unlikely to subside. A quite extreme view on the subject of the role of the state is one whose modern roots lie in the first half of the 20th century. Obviously, many nations in the developed world lay in a dire politico-economic situation - for example, Italy and Germany following the First World War. ...read more.

Middle

That is not to say that the opinion is by any means dead - many would argue that hitherto, George W. Bush has displayed a penchant for the reinforcement of law and order, passing substantial legislation in the pursuit of increased security. Certainly, despite the aforementioned undesirable associations, the strong enforcement of law and order is a state role seen by many as a just one, especially in the current international climate. An entirely different outlook sees the state's role as being the (radical) re-distributor of wealth amongst its subjects. For an effective redistribution to be achieved, high taxes are a clear necessity. They must be progressively staggered so as to achieve a more equal outcome. Thus, the view is socialist in its essence. Where a liberal would seek the provision of equal opportunity, an equal outcome, effectively regardless of the means required to provide it, is the primary concern of a socialist. For wealth to be radically redistributed it is necessary for industry to be nationalised - this will ensure equality and prevent exploitation. The view's roots have obvious connotations with Marx's insistence that we secure the workers the full fruits of their industry and the equitable distribution thereof, but more modern champions of the vision have also offered their own views on the subject. ...read more.

Conclusion

Observing western democracies at the start of the 21st Century, it appears that this view is one currently popular with mass electorates. More extreme administrations appear to have subsided, at least for the time being; their views on state role usually discredited as they fell. It is of course difficult not to assess the most popular current view on state role as the 'best'; if an alternative was seen to be 'better', it would presuamably be enforced. It is also important to bear in mind that the world's political climate is never static. Especially in internationally hostile times such as these, it is not inconceivable that very different outlooks could become dominant very quickly, changing our views on state role just as rapidly. A 'world electorate' of growing incomes could become swiftly disgruntled with state welfarism if economic downturn saw their wealth crippled. Of course, as history has shown, it is precisely this type of event that has necessitated and ensured the transition of state into different roles than before, and will continue to see such transition into the future. 1 C.J. Friedrich & Z. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy 2J. Gray, Totalitarianism at the crossroads 3 B. Barry, Political Arguments 4 T. Benn, Arguments for Socialism 5 A. Smith, The Wealth of Nations 6 L. Hobhouse, Liberalism ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. How and why does Locke explain the creation, value and protection of property?

    in serving the people and that there must not be parental, that is absolute authority. Yolton explains this like so, "If royal authority is derived from parental authority ... there would be as many kings as fathers... from parental power it necessarily follows either that that all fathers have royal

  2. In what ways is Fascism Totalitarian in Nature?

    Therefore from this concept Totalitarian and Fascist leaders have grounds for claiming a form of demagogic democracy through embodying the "general will" of the people. Hitler referred to the social conscious of the people of Germany as "volksgemienschaft". In reference to the question, the above points make the statement that

  1. Evaluate the different interpretations of the role of the state

    and therefore called for a more paternalistic approach to the state in order to protect the very make up of society. Never the less this improvement of welfare can be criticised mainly by classical liberals who state that individual freedoms were being restricted once again because of the welfare provisions being placed on individuals.

  2. Indonesia: Transition and Prospects for Democracy

    subject... and habituated to the resolution of conflict within the bounds of the specific laws, procedures and institutions sanctioned by the new democratic process." (Linz & Stepan, 1996) An effective state bureaucracy is essential for democratic consolidation (Linz and Stepan, 1996).

  1. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    In this sense, the working class are exploited by the capitalist class. The capitalists live off the profits they obtain from exploiting the working class whilst reinvesting some of their profits for the further accumulation of wealth. This is what we mean when we say there are two classes in society.

  2. Describe Jean Baudrillard's concept of the orders of simulacra in relation to design in ...

    The spectacle is mediated in society 'as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption,' (Debord). The effects of the mediated spectacle tend to lead the consumer to an experience of alienation as the consumers' want for commodities is dictated to serve and maintain capitalism.

  1. What were the most important factors in the rise of the modern state?

    This is one view on the significance of the economic developments during this period and indeed there are opposing views but it?s evident that the modern state proved to be effective in not only organising this new wealth but also redistributing resources, resulting in a great increase in economic activity.

  2. Compare Hobbes and Locke's views on the obligation to obey the law.

    understood as not being interfered with by other people or the state, the centrepiece of their political beliefs) this is the only way you can become obliged to obey another (the principle of self-imposition) because (in Locke?s case) humans have a natural right to liberty, and thus no-one has a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work