Public and Republic

Public and Republic

Public and Republic

Public and Republic

Excerpt

No political problem is more fascinating than that of arranging the representation of the many local and general interests that compose modern society, and none is more frustrating to the scientist and the man of good will. In the village of North Saint Paul, where this preface is written, the active citizens have been continually debating the alternative merits of an elected or of an appointive professional administration of their affairs. The villagers want economy and efficiency in government, but they do not want to lose any of their sense of being represented.

Local problems of representation merge into a welter of similar problems in and among all large groups and all political jurisdictions. Important sections of America's domestic economy have been disrupted anew this year by costly coal and automobile strikes. The terms of settlement of the strikes promise not a permanent peace, but only a truce. No reliable means nave been found to reconcile for more than a brief interval the divergent views of human and material needs that are found within industry, nor have the differences between industry and the public interest achieved a stable compromise.

In every state with prominent urban centers, metropolitan and rural interests clash bitterly over the apportionment of representation. The City of New York has abandoned recently its system of proportional representation, alleging that the system had given aid and comfort to the Communist Party. Every action of the national Congress on an important measure is accompanied by cries throughout the land that the action was forced by lobbies representing special interests.

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