H C Singh

Brief Review of Laski’s Pluralism

Decentralization of power is a paramount necessity because absolute power is likely to corrupt absolutely those who wield and in the second place is likely to result in its perpetuation and ultimate destruction of civil liberties of the people and their representative institutions, as well as voluntary associations.

It is the right of the trade union to be concerned in the administration of industry and to be consulted in the determination of wages that pluralists like Laski attach importance to.

The problem of representation is to enable mass of men to have some share in the government, howsoever indirect, periodic and inadequate it might be. Laski grants sufficient freedom to representatives and warns that too much cannot be expected from them. They will not be delegates in the sense either (a) ‘making all their views on new problem back to their constituents for approval’. Nothing more is conceded to the people than their right to elect their representatives once in ‘four or five years and, in the case of national emergency, right to put pressure through their groups. As mere right to vote is not enough so is the existence of representative institutions. A system, to be just, must have educated a politically conscious system and exercise discretion in the selection of their representatives. They should also have rights, leisure and minimum economic well being.

There seems to be “no inseparable bond between pluralism and administrative decentralization”. Laski’s pluralism involves the making of decisions out of the interests which will be effected by them and, in turn their application by those interests. For Laski it means self – government in industries like mining, textile and steel; it also means existence of consultative bodies or representative of the professions, e.g., surrounding the Ministry of education with bodies entitled to speak on behalf of parties to the educational process and entitled to be consulted because they are entitled to speak. And, for Laski it also means the abandonment of concept of state sovereignty in the sense which ‘equates’ government with society.

The principle of social organization in the pluralist society of which Laski speaks is that an individual is entitled to act in the way his instructed conscience directs him. It is the insistence that coordination should grow from within and not be imposed from without. Laski’s scheme rightly recognizes the necessity of a coordinating authority but, be it noted, not of the same type as was advocated by hobbies in Leviathn and even as exists in the modern class states of which we have ample experience.

This ‘creative coordination’ can only be there if for the whole people conditions of decent life exist. To prove the validity of this Marxian truth Laski reiterates that a man cannot be his “best self, if he is involved in a perpetual struggle to satisfy the barest minimum of physical appetites”. A society to be pluralist and just, must therefore, recognize all the rights postulated by Laski. Freedom of speech if life blood of the society. Without universal education some will have access to power and inclination to perpetuate them in power. If vast property is held in private hands , its owner will control the state in their own interest to the exclusion of property less.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Laski | , , , , , , | Leave a comment