• 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...


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.


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.


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. Similarities and differences between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism

    Lastly, "Ideologies seek to elicit a response of commitment and obligation on the part of the adherents." Again, this criterion is easily satisfied by 21st century religious fundamentalism. This can be seen in the 911 suicide bombing of the twin towers by terrorists inspired by Political Islam.

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

    life of another, by Right of property in Land or possessions'" This, of course, would include the man of sovereignty and the men of government. Property sets the limit of sovereignty, in that no man has just power over another or another's property.

  1. Discuss the conflicts between Employee and Employer by Marxist

    between employee and employer from management view, but discuss the conflict between those two parties through Marxism and Labour Theory. In this essay, I first introduce the Marxism and Marxism Economy, in Marxism Economy, I emphasise on the capitalist industry.

  2. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    and sharing of information (see also Friedman, Lipshitz, and Overmeer in this volume). In an organizational context, whether in the private or the public sphere, this fact alone modifies the form, quality, and spread of learning; it also brings about a modification of the organizational power structure itself.

  1. Political Parties, Role and Ideology/Policies Qa (i) Ideology is the core fundamental beliefs ...

    New Labour has effectively become more Conservative than before. It has adopted many Conservative policies and has therefore gathered more support than the more socialist wing of Old Labour. In 1983, Labour presented its most Socialist manifesto ever. Labour suffered a resounding defeat to the Conservatives and decided to alter its policies.

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

    In this instance the object enters the third order of simulation as a real event (model posing for sculptor) is created from an existing symbolic object (sailing boat figure heads) in order to be recreated as a new symbolic object (Spirit of Ecstasy emblem).

  1. What are the main ideological principles of the conservatives, Labour and Liberal democrats? To ...

    The party is cautious over radical change and only believes in organic change which occurs naturally when we learn from our mistakes. They have faith in paternalism and supported traditional values and institutions. When the conservative ideology immerged it was typically supported by land-owning aristocracy and this is probably why

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

    But this is only credible if the consent is: (a) Conscious: the actor knows that they are consenting, and what they are consenting to, by performing the act that gives consent. For example if a foreigner walks into an auction house and scratches his head at the moment the auctioneer

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