THE STATE AND MONOPOLY
A recent Russian writer has said: "It is recognized as the highest principle of economic science by the newest school in the West of Europe, that the government is under obligation to take upon itself the management of economic relations in the country, and especially to care for the interests of the lowest and least secure classes of the population. In this respect our government stands in a far more satisfactory position than the Western European governments. The civil authority amongst us has, from of old, taken the most active part in the regulation of the economic relations of the people, while, in the West, such intervention of the government in the economic life of the people constitutes one of the pious hopes of the newest school of economists, the Katheder-socialisten."
I do not see how the claim here put forward on behalf of Russia can be successfully resisted. If Western Europe and the United States are really to adopt the plan of regulating interests by the management of public functionaries, then they must be prepared to admit that the traditions of civil liberty, and the principles of jurisprudence, which have guided Western civilization for a thousand years, are all at fault, and that Russia has all the time been on the right track. We must come to regard the tchinovnik, or functionary, not as a bugaboo of Russian novels, but as the true agent of civilization. The more objectively and inductively we are disposed to study social questions, the more zealously we should apply ourselves to the study of the Russian model.