Government Corporations and State Law

Government Corporations and State Law

Government Corporations and State Law

Government Corporations and State Law

Excerpt

As Mr. John Maynard Keynes, the distinguished British economist, has remarked in his short monograph entitled Laissez-Faire and Communism:

Perhaps the chief task of Economists at this hour is to distinguish afresh the Agenda of Government from the Non-Agenda; and the companion task of Politics is to devise forms of Government within a Democracy which shall be capable of accomplishing the Agenda. . . .

I believe that in many cases the ideal size for the unit of control and organisation lies somewhere between the individual and the modern State. I suggest, therefore, that progress lies in the growth and the recognition of semi-autonomous bodies within the State- bodies whose criterion of action within their own fields is solely the public good as they understand it, and from whose deliberations motives of private advantage are excluded, . . . bodies which in the ordinary course of affairs are mainly autonomous within their prescribed limitations, but are subject in the last resort to the sovereignty of the democracy expressed through Parliament.

I propose a return, it may be said, towards medieval conceptions of separate autonomies. But, in England at any rate, corporations are a mode of government which has never ceased to be important and is sympathetic to our institutions. It is easy to give examples, from what already exists, of separate autonomies which have attained or are approaching the mode I designate -- the universities, the Bank of England, the Port of London Authority . . . In the United States there are doubtless analogous instances.

Mr. Keynes, who wrote his monograph in 1926, was perhaps unaware of the extent to which this device for taking care of the new agenda of government was being used at that very time in the United States. Although government corporations were organized early in the history of this country, it was not until the period of the World War that they became widely . . .

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