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Thursday, 19 September 2013

The basics of Locke and Marx contributions to the theory of the state

At least three main types of power exist in all of the states. It is cannot be a state if it does not have these types of power. These powers can be Legislative (Parliament in UK), Executive (Government in UK), Judicial (Courts), Sovereignty (Permanence)

Most state population will also identify with the state and accept its authority, giving the state legitimate power; known as authority in democratic states. Sometimes, however, this is not the case, for example; the people of Basque rebelled in the early 90’s and their rebel core, the ETA refused to recognise or identify with being part of the Spanish state. A state usually has defined territories over which it can exercise its power. Often there is a misconception that the government is the state. State and government are not to be mistaken for being the same, they are two very different sources; however, the government is an important feature of the state.

There are three types of State Apparatus, each with their own model of support supplied to the state, not the government. There are the Coercive State Apparatus (CSA) which incorporates Executive governments, legislature, police, secret police, courts, prisons and military. The Ideological state Apparatus (ISA) includes Education, Media and religion. Finally there is the Administrative state apparatus (ASA) which deals with sectors such as the civil service, the welfare state and social work. The state apparatus are all intricate parts of the key features of a state however breaking them down into their actual apparatus structures allows you to see each detail as a separate sector.

Compared to most institutions for instance, a government who rely on limited time based on public voting, the state exists as permanence or under longevity. The British state has been in existence since 1707 since the act of Union. The sovereignty of the state differentiates the modern state from the medieval or feudal state. Instead of a King passing his land down to lords in order that they control their own territories a modern state utilises centralised power over all sectors.

The theory which makes the most logical sense was created by John Locke, a Pluralist. He argued that power is shared between various groups to create a democracy or democratic state. He also believed that the elected officials, the government of the state, had accountability for their actions. This accountability gave the people, the electorate, the power to renounce them if they did not act responsibly for the benefit of the state. He called this “The social contract”. In return for looking after the state, the people were also obligated to uphold the law and return in kind, the responsible actions of an individual of the state.

In days gone by this theory fit the time well but has this theory aged well? Has it become outdated due to sheer mass of human expansion, compared to the 1700’s? Where does our system fit into Locke’s’ theory?

Locke must have been visionary in his day as the system still works. The social contract is still a vital feature in today’s society. The ability to vote through choice, not coercion, gives us the authority, through voting, to renounce current government if they are not accountable for their actions or do not act in the best interest of the state. In this area of Locke’s theory it still stands extremely solid.

Locke’s theory of separation of powers is also still a working model in today’s’ modern state. We have many groups with power over specific sectors such as religion, politics, military, education, judicial, legislature and Executive. Although one government does govern these for its term, these sectors are in effect kept separate. Each sector has its own policies and budgets to work with so no one party alone or individual official can dictate objectives to them. Every decision has to be agreed and negotiated, often voted on via a referendum, before conclusion.

Marx was an idealist. Marx believed that there was no state before Capitalism and that Capitalism was the state. He believed that the proletariat were oppressed by the Capitalist class. He argued that there was no choice for the proletariat but to go and seek employment in order to live. He argued that there should be common ownership or equality of condition. He believed that resources should be shared equally and that only the limitations of human ingenuity or recourse availability itself should impact on this.

 Both Marx and Locke were seeing the state from different concepts but both were looking at a fairer system where the people of the state would have benefited. Marx’s theory was a sound theory but the world is not ready for his utopia as yet and I fear it will never be ready.

Locke’s theory has potential to carry us much farther through time. The state definition by Locke was a precision theory for its time and has withstood mass growth of the human race with ease. Our society has become more complex however it is simple to assert this theory to any sector of the state, even in today’s modern world. Take media for instance, something that never existed in the 1700’s and yet it has been integrated into society using this theory with ease. John Locke’s theory has held solid since our sovereignty in 1707 and holds solid in many other states too such as America, Canada, and France. States all over the world are still influenced by his theory and until we see another visionary such as Locke, it will continue to work as it has stood the test of time and no doubt will work for many more centuries to come.