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COMPARE THEORY OF HAROLD LASKI AND

T.H. GREEN ON STATE

Submitted by submitted to

Mukesh choudhary Ms. Ayesha rahman

B.A. LL.B (hons.) Faculty (political science)

Sem. 1st Hidayatullah National Law University

Roll no. 73 Raipur

Submitted on – 12th October 2012

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DECLARATION

I, Mukesh choudhary, hereby declare that, the project work entitled, ‘Compare
theory of Harold Laski and T.H. Green on state‘submitted to H.N.L.U., Raipur
is record of an original work done by me under the able guidance of Ms. Ayesha
rahman , Faculty Member, H.N.L.U., Raipur.

Mukesh choudhary

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to the Almighty who gave me the strength to accomplish the project
with sheer hard work and honesty. This research venture has been made
possible due to the generous co-operation of various persons. To list them all is
not practicable, even to repay them in words is beyond the domain of my
lexicon. May I observe the protocol to show my deep gratitude to the venerated
Faculty-in-charge Ms. Ayesha rahman, for his kind gesture in allotting me
such a wonderful and elucidating research topic.
Mukesh choudhary

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Objective

To study the Marxism and liberalism theory of state.

To study the theory of state of Harold Laski and T.H. Green.

To compare the theory of Harold Laski and T.H. Green on state.

Methodology

The present study will be a descriptive and analytical study based on review of secondary
sources such as books, literature, articles, journals, web pages, etc.

Hypothesis

In this project I would included the theories of Harold Laski and T.H. Green on state.

Also add the criticism of both the thinkers on theory of state.

And I have tried to included the basic meaning of Marxist and liberal view of state, also the
concept of individualism.

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CONTENTS
Declaration
Acknowledgment
Objective, Methodology, Hypothesis
Introduction
T.H. Green
 Green’s views on functions of state
 Criticism

Harold J. Laski
 Laski’s views on functions of state

 Criticism
Marxist view
Liberal view
Conclusion
Bibliography

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INTRODUCTION

A state is an organized political community living under a government. States may be


sovereign. The denomination state is also employed to federated states that are members of a
federal union, which is the sovereign state. Some states are subject to external sovereignty or
hegemony where ultimate sovereignty lies in another state. The state can also be used to refer
to the secular branches of government within a state, often as a manner of contrasting them
with churches and civilian institutions (civil society).

According to theory of divine origin-


The theory of divine origin is the oldest concerning the primary origin of the state. It looks
upon the state as a divine institution. The state is created by God and ruled by him either
directly or indirectly through some ruler who is regarded as the agent or representative of
God on earth. The Jews were the earliest advocates of this theory. In the Hindu epic
Mahabharata, it has been said that when people were tired of anarchy and lawlessness, they
prayed to God for respite and he appointed specific rulers for the purpose. In the Bible it is
stated: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God:
the powers that be are ordained of God". Thus God is the source of all powers and the rulers
are considered his agents. The early church fathers also propounded this theory. During the
middle ages a fierce controversy developed between the state and Church for supremacy on
the basis of this theory. Gradually the theory of divine origin of the state was transformed
into the theory of the divine rights of kings. In England, James I, the first Stuart King and Sir
Robert Filmer were the leading exponents of this latter doctrine. In his work, The Law of
Free Monarchies, James I wrote: "Kings are justly called gods, for they exercise a manner of
resemblance of divine power upon earth". They are the "breathing images of God upon earth"
and the King "is master over every person, having power over life and death". In France the
despotism of Louis XIV was supported by Bossuet on the strength of this doctrine. The main
features of the theory of divine rights of Kingship are the following:

1. Monarchy is divinely ordained. Kings derive their authority directly from God.
2. Hereditary right is indefeasible. Succession to the throne is governed by the law of
primogeniture.
3. Kings are accountable to God alone for all their acts.

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4. Resistance to a lawful King is sin. To go against the King is to go against God.
Disobedience is sacrilegious.

The theory of force is based on an analysis of the two primary instincts in man craving for
power and desire for self-assertion. In the dawn of civilization, these instincts found
expression in continuous conflicts and aggressions. The strong attacked and enslaved the
weak. The strong exercised their rule over the weak. Powerful men began to exercise control
over a sizeable section of people and this led to the emergence of clans and tribes. There were
incessant fights between clans and tribes for supremacy. Through such conflicts the authority
of a successful tribal chief was established on a particular territory and ultimately the state
emerged. The state is the outcome of aggression, the result of superior physical force.
Leacock writes: “Historically it (force theory) means that government is the outcome of
human aggression, that the beginnings of the state are to be sought in the capture and
enslavement of man by man, in the conquest and subjugation of feebler tribes and, generally
speaking, in the self seeking domination acquired by superior physical force. The progressive
growth from tribe to Kingdom and from Kingdom to empire is but a continuation of the same
process". In its simplest form, this theory may be stated thus: "war begat the King".

In his book "The State", Oppenheimer, a keen exponent of the theory, traces the origin of
state through various stages. Jenks, another prominent advocate of the theory, in his "History
of Politics" holds that, "historically speaking, there is not the slightest difficulty in proving
that all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to successful warfare".
The state is not only created by force but also maintained by force. The use of force is
imperative to maintain law and order inside the state and to defend the state against foreign
aggression. Hence force or physical power is the basis of the state.

Varied Interpretations of the Theory


The theory of force has been given different interpretations by thinkers to serve their own
purposes. In Europe, the middle ages were characterized by struggle between the Church and
the State for supremacy. The Church Fathers used the force theory to justify the supremacy of
the religious authority over political authority. They argued that the Church was a divine
institution while the state was a product of force. Divine sanction imparted a greater
legitimacy to the Church and as such it was superior to the state. Individualists used the
theory in support of individual freedom and rights. The state as an organization of force is

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considered as a necessary evil. It should have a restrictive function, namely, maintenance of
internal order and defence against external aggression. Restrictive state functions, they argue,
will result in enjoyment of maximum possible individual freedom.

The Marxists trace the origin and development of the state in conquest and
domination of the economically dominant class over the dispossessed class. They look upon
the state as an instrument of aggressive class exploitation. In the contemporary capitalist state
the power of the state is used by the capitalist class to maintain their own privileges by
exploiting the working class. Social change, according to Marxists, comes by force and
revolution. Force is the midwife of an old society giving birth to a new one. Only in a
classless society (communism), the state (along with force) will be abolished. Hence, the
Marxian analysis of the origin and continuance of political institutions runs in terms of power
and force.

Perhaps the greatest use of the force theory has been made by German thinkers like
Hegel, Bernhard, Sorel, Nietzsche and Treitschke who preached a doctrine of naked force and
coercion with a view to placing Germany on the summit of glory. According to Bernhard,
“might is the supreme right and the dispute as to what is right is decided by the arbitration of
war". Nietzsche and Sorel enunciated the doctrine of the revolutionary right of the strong.
Treitschke identified the state with power and power is moralized by the assumption that it is
the condition of upholding and spreading a national culture. These views provided a
philosophical basis to the emergence of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy which
practiced a rule of mass subjugation and forcible suppression of dissent in domestic politics
and militancy in international relations.

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THOMAS HILL GREEN (1836-82)

Thomas Hill Green was born on April 7, 1836, at Birkin, a tiny village in the West Riding of
Yorkshire, England, of which his father was rector. Green spent his life teaching. His first
important article, "The Philosophy of Aristotle" appeared in 1866, the beginning of a series of
Hegelian articles such as "Essay on Christian Dogma" and "Popular Philosophy in Its
Relation to Life."  In 1874, he published his famous Introductions to Hume's Treatise of
Human Nature. In 1878, he was made Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy. The lectures
he delivered as professor form the substance of his two most important works,
the Prolegomena to Ethics and the Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation.  As part
of his activities in the Liberal party, in 1881, Green gave the Lecture on Liberal Legislation
and Freedom of Contract which became one of his most famous statements of his liberal
philosophy. At this time, he was also lecturing on religion, epistemology, ethics, and political
philosophy. Then, at the height of his intellectual powers and academic career, Green died
from blood poisoning on March 15, 1882.

Gave a new turn to liberal philosophy by demolishing the wall between the individual and
society, self-interest and social interest which was the greatest logical weakness of the liberal
philosophy.Harmony in individual’s self-interest and social interest – for the development of
individual personality it is necessary that individual should be active in social affairs. He
looked at state as an agency for the social upliftment of man. The primary function of the
state is to remove the hindrances in the way of development of human personality. The
function of government is to maintain conditions of life in which morality shall be possible,
and morality consists in disinterested performance of self-imposed duty. The state is an
institution for the promotion of common good. Emphasized the moral aspect of man, society
and state, and on this basis, he supported the welfare functions of the state. He provided solid
ethical foundations of state by pulling it out of pure individualism. As the founder of the
welfare state on moral basis, he argued that the need of the welfare state was ethical rather
than economic.

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GREEN’S VIEWS ON FUNCTIONS OF STATE

The function of the state is to remove the hindrances to the development of human
personality and maintain the external conditions required for the inner development of
human personality. Poor education, poverty, ignorance, and bad working conditions are
obstacles to the moral and intellectual development of human personality. The state must
remove these hindrances by positive welfare activities, to look after the common interest
of the society. The basis of the state is neither force, nor contract but the human will. The
state is not the highest morality in itself but it is a necessary condition for the moral
development of man

Green held that the state should foster and protect the social, political and economic
environments in which individuals would have the best chance of acting according to
their consciences. He himself was a temperance reformer and believed that it was
legitimate for the state to curtail the individual's freedom to accept the slavery of
alcoholism. At the same time, he perceived that state intervention also had the potential to
curtail opportunities for conscientious action, thereby stifling the moral development of
the individual. The state should intervene only where there was a proven and strong
tendency of a particular liberty to enslave the individual. Green observed that local
councils and municipal authorities tended to produce measures that were more
imaginative and better suited to the daily reality of a social problem, and favoured the
‘local option;’ for example, allowing local authorities to decide on the issuing of liquor
licenses in their area. The ultimate power to allocate such tasks should rest with the
national state.1

1
 Nicholson, P. P., “T. H. Green and State Action: Liquor Legislation’, History of Political Thought, 6 (1985),
517–50. Reprinted in A. Vincent, ed., The Philosophy of T. H. Green (Aldershot: Gower, 1986), pp. 76–103

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H J LASKI (1894-1950)

Harold Laski was born in Manchester on 30 June 1893. Laski was a proponent
of Marxism and believed in a planned economy based on the public ownership of the means
of production. Instead of as he saw it, a coercive state, Laski believed in the evolution of co-
operative states that were internationally bound and stressed social welfare. He also believed
since the capitalist class would not acquiesce in its own liquidation, the cooperative
commonwealth was not likely to be attained without violence. But he also had a commitment
to civil liberties, free speech and association, and representative democracy. Initially he
believed that the League of Nations would bring about an "international democratic system"2.
However from the late 1920s his political beliefs became radicalized and he believed that it
was necessary to go beyond capitalism to "transcend the existing system of sovereign states".
Laski was involved in Labour party politics from the early 1920s. In 1923, he turned down
the offer of a parliament seat and cabinet position by Ramsay MacDonald. In 1931 he left the
Labour party after becoming disillusioned with party politics. In 1932, Laski joined
the Socialist League. In 1937, he was involved in the failed attempt by the Independent
Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain to form a Popular Front to bring
down the Conservative government of Neville Chamberlain. During 1934–45 he served as an
alderman in the Fulham Borough Council and also the chairman of the libraries committee. In
1937, he rejoined the Labour party and became a member of its National Executive
Committee, of which he remained a member until 1949. Laski suffered a nervous breakdown
during the World War II years, brought about by overwork. In 1944, he chaired the Labour
party conference and served as the party's chair during 1945–46.3 all his life, he never really
resolved the major tensions between his early radical individualism and pluralist theories of
sovereignty and the state, and his later socialism and Marxism.
As a positive liberal of the 20th century, viewed the state as "an organisation for enabling the
mass of men to realise social good on the largest possible scale”. His function in society is "to
satisfy common needs, to protect the interests of men as citizens". Believed in the democratic
state and maintained that the functions of state have increased with the availability of voting
rights to more and more people. Welfare functions of the state “is the price the rich have to

2
 "Papers of Harold Laski and Frida Laski (1893–1950)". University of Hull. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
3
Lamb, Peter (April , 1999). "Harold Laski (1893–1950): Political Theorist of a World in Crisis". Review of
International Studies (Cambridge University Press) 25 (2):

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pay to the poor for their security”. Societies in which the state performs welfare functions
serving the common interest of the society, a revolution will not occur.4

LASKI’S VIEWS ON FUNCTIONS OF STATE

The state coordinates the interests of various associations and institutions in society. The
state must bridge the gap between the rich and the poor through its economic functions.
Industries and distribution of commodities should be controlled by the state. The state
must perform the functions of social welfare such as education, health and housing. The
state must safeguard the interest of the working class and save them from exploitation.
Rights and liberties are to be safeguarded by the state.

Criticism
Laski has been criticised by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. as "incorrigible teller of tales that
exaggerated – sometimes fabricated – his own accomplishments, charms, and triumphs".
According to Schlesinger:

“ [Laski] gave the highest value to individual freedom but never explained how it
could survive without diversification of ownership. His fatal fluency enabled him to
glide over the hard questions. His besetting sin was the substitution of rhetoric for
thought.5 ”

Ayn Rand, in a collection of her essays, The Art of Fiction, remarks that after hearing a talk
by Laski in the 1930s, he became for her the personification of the villain Ellsworth Toohey
in her novel, The Fountainhead.6 In her words,
"It is true that he was not particularly liberal—that is, he was the most vicious liberal I have
ever heard in public, but not blatantly so. He was very subtle and gracious, he rambled on a
great deal about nothing in particular—and then he made crucial, vicious points once in a
while I thought, "There was my character." [...] Years later, I learned that [his] career was in

4
Mortimer, Molly (September 1993). "Harold Laski: A Political Biography.
5
Schlesinger, Jr, Arthur. "Harold Laski: A Life on the Left". The Washington Monthly. 
6
Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), p. 30, 115

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fact somewhat like Toohey's: he was always the man behind the scenes, much more
influential than anybody knew publicly, pulling the strings behind the governments of several
countries. Finally he was proved to be a communist, which he did not announce himself as or
blatantly sound like.
In his essay Politics and the English Language, George Orwell used a section from Laski's
book, Essay in Freedom of Expression, as an example of writing which demonstrated the
"mental vices" suffered by English speakers.

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MARXIST VIEW

Although Marx and Engels did not leave us with a single, elaborated presentation of their
analysis of the state, they did have a coherent theory of it, and it is worth outlining. At the
risk of omission and simplification, I would list its major points as follows:

1. The "material basis" of the state is "relative scarcity." Relative scarcity is a condition in
which the productivity of labor enables a group of people to produce a surplus, that is, an
amount of goods—food, clothes, tools—that is more than enough t o enable them to survive,
yet not enough to allow everyone to live in true abundance. When productivity reaches such a
point, society divides into classes: (a) the vast majority, who spend most of their time
working, while receiving an amount of goods (or monetary equivalent) that barely enables
them to live; and (b) a tiny minority who exploit the majority—that is, appropriate surplus
and live in luxury without performing productive labor. The division of society into classes in
turn gives rise to the st ate.

"(The state) is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that
this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it is cleft into
irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to disp el. But in order that these
antagonisms, classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and
society in sterile struggle, a power seemingly standing above society became necessary for
the purpose of moderating the conflict, of ke eping it within the bounds of "order"; and this
power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and increasingly alienating itself from
it, is the state." (Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Foreign
Languages Publi shing House, Moscow, p. 280.)

2. In general, the state is controlled by the economically dominant class, enabling it to


maintain its control over the exploited classes.

"As the state arose from the need to hold class antagonisms in check, but as it arose, at the
same time, in the midst of these classes, it is, as a rule, the state of the most powerful,
economically dominant class, which, through the medium of the stat e, becomes also the
politically dominant class, and thus acquires new means of holding down and exploiting the
oppressed class. Thus, the state of antiquity was above all the state of slave owners for the

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purpose of holding down the slaves, as the feudal state was the organ of the nobility for
holding down the peasant serfs and bondsmen, and the modern representative state is an
instrument of exploitation of wage labour by capital." (Engels, Origin, p. 283.)

3. The state is part of the "superstructure" of society. Marx and Engels analyzed human
society as divided into a material base (or basis), and a superstructure that rests on it. The
base is made up of the instruments of production (machines, tools, ra w materials), the social
classes, chiefly the exploiting and laboring classes, of the particular society, and the relations
between these classes. The superstructure consists of political and cultural institutions,
including the state, churches, schools, etc., as well as corresponding ideational realms:
politics, religion, science, art, etc. The state is a major, if not the major, element of this
superstructure.

4. The nature of the material base of a given society, or what Marx and Engels called its
"mode of production," determines the nature of the superstructure. By extension, the
development of the base determines the evolution of the state.

"I was led by my studies to the conclusion that legal relations as well as forms of the
state...are rooted in the material conditions of life...in the social production which men carry
on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and in dependent of their will; these
relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of the material powers
of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic
structure of society—the real foundation, on which rise legal and political superstructures and
to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in
material life determines the general character of the social, political, and spiritual processes
of life." (Karl Marx , Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Feuer,
p. 43.)

5. Although the state is usually the instrument of the economically dominant class, sometimes
conflicting classes balance each other such that the state becomes somewhat independent.

"By way of exception, however, periods occur in which the warring classes balance each
other so nearly that the state power, as ostensible mediator, acquires, for the moment, a
certain degree of independence of both. Such was the absolute monarchy of t he seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, which held the balance between the nobility and the class of

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burghers; such was the Bonapartism of the First, and still more of the Second French Empire,
which played off the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie against the
proletariat." (Engels. Origin, pp. 283-4.)

6. In most states in history, rights were allotted according to wealth.

"In most of the historical states, the rights of citizens are... apportioned according to their
wealth, thus directly expressing the fact that the state is an organization of the possessing
class for its protection against the non-possessing class." (E ngels, Origin, p. 284.)

7. The highest form of the state is the democratic republic, in which the capitalist class
exercises its power indirectly.

"The highest form of the state, the democratic republic... officially knows nothing any more
of property distinctions. In it wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely. On
the one hand, in the form of direct corruption of officials. .. on the other hand, in the form of
an alliance between government and Stock Exchange...and lastly, the possessing class rules
directly through the medium of universal suffrage. As long as the oppressed class, in our
case, therefore, the proletariat, is not yet ripe to emancipate itself, it will in its majority regard
the existing order of society as the only possible one and, politically, will form the tail of the
capitalist class, its extreme Left wing." (Engels, Origin, pp. 285-6.)

8. "(T)he executive of the modern state is essentially a committee for managing the common
affairs of the whole bourgeoisie." (Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto,
International Publishers, 1948, p. 11.)

9. As capitalism develops and the effects of its periodic crises make themselves felt, the state
is compelled to take over and manage ever greater portions of the economy. In effect, the
capitalist state expropriates the capitalists. By itself, this do es not do away with capitalism,
but sets the stage for this through the seizure of state power and the means of production by
the working class.

"... (T)he official representative of capitalist society—the state—will ultimately have to


undertake the direction of production... All the social functions of the capitalists are now
produced by salaried employees... At first the capitalist mode of pr oduction forces out the

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workers. Now it forces out the capitalists..." (Engels, "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific",
Feuer, pp. 102-103.)

(From this point, I'll sketch Marx and Engels' views without citations, since this aspect of
their theory will be the theme of the next installment.)

10. The chief strategic task of the working class in the proletarian revolution is to seize state
power, to raise itself to the position of ruling class.

11. The working class smashes the capitalist state and builds its own, the dictatorship of the
proletariat, in its place.

12. The dictatorship of the proletariat is not a state in the proper sense of the term. It is the
proletariat organized as the ruling class. Unlike other states in history, whose role was to
enable minorities to suppress majorities, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the instrument of
the vast majority to suppress the tiny exploiting minority; its establishment represents victory
in the battle for democracy.

13. The main tasks of the dictatorship are to expropriate the capitalists (those whose property
has not already been nationalized), suppress capitalist resistance, and develop the
nationalized means of production as rapidly as possible in order to over come relative scarcity
and shorten the workday, thus allowing all workers to participate in the affairs of society.

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LIBERAL VIEW
Liberalism is not anarchism, nor has it anything whatsoever to do with anarchism. The liberal
understands quite clearly that without resort to compulsion, the existence of society would be
endangered and that behind the rules of conduct whose observance is necessary to assure
peaceful human cooperation must stand the threat of force if the whole edifice of society is
not to be continually at the mercy of any one of its members. One must be in a position to
compel the person who will not respect the lives, health, personal freedom, or private
property of others to acquiesce in the rules of life in society. This is the function that the
liberal doctrine assigns to the state: the protection of property, liberty, and peace.

It is incorrect to represent the attitude of liberalism toward the state by saying that it wishes to
restrict the latter's sphere of possible activity or that it abhors, in principle, all activity on the
part of the state in relation to economic life. Such an interpretation is altogether out of the
question. The stand that liberalism takes in regard to the problem of the function of the state
is the necessary consequence of its advocacy of private ownership of the means of
production. If one is in favor of the latter, one cannot, of course, also be in favor of
communal ownership of the means of production, i.e., of placing them at the disposition of
the government rather than of individual owners. Thus, the advocacy of private ownership of
the means of production already implies a very severe circumscription of the functions
assigned to the state.

The socialists are sometimes wont to reproach liberalism with a lack of consistency, It is,
they maintain, illogical to restrict the activity of the state in the economic sphere exclusively
to the protection of property. It is difficult to see why, if the state is not to remain completely
neutral, its intervention has to be limited to protecting the rights of property owners.

This reproach would be justified only if the opposition of liberalism to all governmental
activity in the economic sphere going beyond the protection of property stemmed from an
aversion in principle against any activity on the part of the state. But that is by no means the
case. The reason why liberalism opposes a further extension of the sphere of governmental
activity is precisely that this would, in effect, abolish private ownership of the means of
production. And in private property the liberal sees the principle most suitable for the
organization of man's life in society.

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CONCLUSION
With the above project I can conclude that the theory of state given by Harold Laski is The
state, we urge, is the outcome of the religious struggle of the sixteenth century; or, at least, it
is from that crisis that it derives the qualities today most especially its own. The notion of a
single and universal authority commensurate with the bounds of social life was utterly
destroyed when Luther appealed to the princes in the interests of religious reform and T.H
green is that Green believed that the state should foster and protect the social, political and
economic environments in which individuals will have the best chance of acting according to
their consciences

Green economics as it stands is an attempt to apply classical and neo-classical models to


ecological questions, as if the relationship between society and environment were a matter of
matching quantities and inputs to outputs (Pearce et al, 1989). This has its place in the debate
about sustainability, but is not enough. Seeing ‘sustainability’ as an indeterminate, essentially
discursive concept implies that it requires political articulation.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
 Political science theory, S.N Dubey
 Principal of political science, R.C agrawal
 Political theory, V.D. Mahajan ,S. chand

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