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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

of capital and labour, while the other is a more
general trouble afflicting all large organizations. I
do not propose to say anything about the conflict
of labour and capital, but the remoteness of govern-
ment, whether in a political or an economic organiza-
tion, whether under capitalism or under socialism,
is a somewhat less trite theme, and deserves to be
However society may be organized, there is in-
evitably a large area of conflict between the general
interest and the interest of this or that section. A
rise in the price of coal may be advantageous to the
coal industry and facilitate an increase in miners*
wages, but is disadvantageous to everybody else.
When prices and wages are fixed by the government,
every decision must disappoint somebody. The con-
siderations which should weigh with the government
are so general, and so apparently removed from the
everyday life of the workers, that it is very difficult
to make them appear cogent. A concentrated advan-
tage is always more readily appreciated than a
diffused disadvantage. It is for this sort of reason that
governments find it difficult to resist inflation, and
that, when they do, they are apt to become unpopular.
A government which acts genuinely in the interests
of the general public runs a risk of being thought by
each section to be perversely ignoring the interests
of that section. This is a difficulty which, in a
democracy, tends to be increased by every increase
in the degree of governmental control.