Control and Initiative: Their Respective Spheres
A HEALTHY and progressive society requires both central control and individual and group initiative: without control there is anarchy, and without initiative there is stagnation. I want in this lecture to arrive at some general principles as to what matters should be controlled and what should be left to private or semi-private initiative. Some of the qualities that we should wish to find in a community are in their essence static, while others are by their very nature dynamic. Speaking very roughly, we may expect the static qualities to be suitable for governmental control, while the dynamic qualities should be promoted by the initiative of individuals or groups. But if such initiative is to be possible, and if it is to be fruitful rather than destructive, it will need to be fostered by appropriate institutions, and the safeguarding of such institutions will have to be one of the functions of government. It is obvious that in a state of anarchy there could not be universities or scientific research or publication of books, or even such simple things as seaside holidays. In our complex world, there cannot be fruitful initiative without government, but unfortunately there can be government without initiative.
The primaryaims of government, I suggest, should be three: security, justice, and conservation. These are things of the
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Publication information: Book title: Authority and the Individual. Contributors: Bertrand Russell - Author. Publisher: Simon and Schuster. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1949. Page number: 54.
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