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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

TECHNIQUE    AND    HUMAN   NATURE
the public appear as tiresome, fussy, and stupid,
perpetually losing things or changing their addresses.
It is not easy to see how, out of such a situation, a
genuine harmony between government and the
governed can be produced.
The ways which have hitherto been discovered of
producing a partial harmony between private feelings
and public interest have been open to objections of
various kinds.
The easiest and most obvious harmonizer is war.
In a difficult war, when national self-preservation is
in jeopardy, it is easy to induce everybody to work
with a will, and if the government is thought compe-
tent its orders are readily obeyed. The situation is
like that in a shipwreck. But no one would advocate
shipwrecks as means of promoting naval discipline,
and we cannot advocate wars on the ground that they
cause national unity. No doubt something of the
same effect can be produced by the fear of war, but
if fear of war is acute for a long enough time it is
pretty sure to result in actual war, and while it
promotes national unity it also causes both lassitude
and hysteria.
Competition, where it exists, is an immensely
powerful incentive. It has been generally decried by
socialists as one of the evil things in a capitalist
society, but the Soviet Government has restored it
to a very important place in the organization of
industry. Stakhanovite methods, in which certain
workers are rewarded for exceptional proficiency,