Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 20th, 2019

General Welfare – Primary State Responsibility


General Welfare – Primary State Responsibility

Among the developed nations of the world, within the contemporary political scenario, there is a greater emphasis on the positive role of the state, because it is now clearly realized that the influence of the state permeates all our relations, even those of the personal kind. Every state must ensure that all the citizens are provided their basic rights and requirements of life.
First of all, the state should create conditions for the growth of free individuality and personality of its citizens. The function of the state is not merely the business of the policeman, of arresting the criminals or of ruthlessly enforcing contracts but of providing for men equal chance, as far as possible, of realizing what is best in their intellectual and moral natures.
State must protect and promote the welfare and well-being of the individual by preserving law and order. But this is not enough. Mere protection of the rights of an individual and enforcement of his duties do not exhaust the list of its functions. Every state now espouses the cause of the economically and socially weak, so that the mere requisites of health and decency shall not be denied by accident or misfortune or incapacity to any member of the community.
Furthermore, modern state now assumes the duty of promoting general welfare. It is now clearly realized that the state is a collective body and not a joint-stock company of the privileged class. It should promote social conditions for the welfare of all. It is now universally recognized that society cannot be happy, prosperous and progressive if some people suffer from the pangs of hunger or are illiterate and ignorant or are unhealthy and miserable. Modern society is becoming collectivistic. Hence modern state can no longer be individualistic, as it was in the nineteenth century. It is now recognized that state should interfere and regulate social and economic lives, if such interference and regulation promotes general welfare. Hence the sphere of state activity should extend to new fields of social and national life for there are many things of general well-being which are not provided by the efforts of individuals and associations either because their private efforts are insufficient or they are incapable of doing so.
The state should be the custodian of the future of the nation. It must conserve what the nation has now, and develop its resources for the future generations. The state with its command on the resources and its universal reach can build for the future in ways that no partial organization can exert. It should take different constructive plans and projects whose benefits will be shared by the future generations. Individual or private enterprise does not undertake it because it is selfish, its resources are limited and its methods haphazard and it aims at immediate gain. The state does not suffer from such limitations or short comings. While private enterprise cannot risk its limited resources in long-term projects, the state can undertake ambitious plans and schemes of conservation and development, as it possesses abundant resources. It can develop national economy by planning and building industry and agriculture by undertaking industrial and scientific research and discovery and encouraging such higher activities of life as science literature and art. In short, it can promote culture and civilization.
It is important to understand from another point of view that human personality in general cannot develop freely without the external conditions of social living which are of universal concern in view of the acknowledged objects of human desire. These conditions are peace and order, protection, safety and prosperity. The state must maintain peace and order not because it is a sort of universal policeman but because in peaceful and orderly atmosphere alone each individual can rise to the full stature of his personality. In other words, man develops his individuality and personality only when the state regulates the dealings of the citizens with one another, prevents confusion and chaos, maintains the rights of its citizens and enforces their duties. The state should maintain order not for the sake of order but for the higher ends of protection, conservation and development. Modern state cannot become merely police-state as the laissez faire wanted it to be. It is a positive state, for it actively creates conditions of human development and welfare. Analyzing our own country with this perspective we find that there are many shortcomings that we need to amend in order to make it a better society. The responsible authorities in this regard should take positive steps and let the people of Afghanistan achieve their basic requirements so that they are able to strive for the realization of their personalities in an atmosphere of peace, tranquility and justice. It is their right and no one should neglect them their due right.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at Outlookafghanistan@gmail.com 

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