Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER II.: political organization in general. - Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology
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CHAPTER II.: political organization in general. - Herbert Spencer, Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology 
Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology (The Concluding Portion of Vol. II) (London: Williams and Norgate, 1882).
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political organization in general.
§ 440. The mere gathering of individuals into a group does not constitute them a society. A society, in the sociological sense, is formed only when, besides juxtaposition there is cooperation. So long as members of the group do not combine their energies to achieve some common end or ends, there is little to keep them together. They are prevented from separating only when the wants of each are better satisfied by uniting his efforts with those of others, than they would be if he acted alone.
Cooperation, then, is at once that which cannot exist without a society, and that for which a society exists. It may be a joining of many strengths to effect something which the strength of no single man can effect; or it may be an apportioning of different activities to different persons, who severally participate in the benefits of one another’s activities. The motive for acting together, originally the dominant one, may be defence against enemies; or it may be the easier obtainment of food, by the chase or otherwise; or it may be, and commonly is, both of these. In any case, however, the units pass from the state of perfect independence to the state of mutual dependence; and as fast as they do this they become united into a society rightly so called.
But cooperation implies organization. If acts are to be effectually combined, there must be arrangements under which they are adjusted in their times, amounts, and characters.
§ 441. This social organization, necessary as a means to concerted action, is of two kinds. Though these two kinds generally co-exist, and are more or less interfused, yet they are distinct in their origins and natures. There is a spontaneous cooperation which grows up without thought during the pursuit of private ends; and there is a cooperation which, consciously devised, implies distinct recognition of public ends. The ways in which the two are respectively established and carried on, present marked contrasts.
Whenever, in a primitive group, there begins that cooperation which is effected by exchange of services—whenever individuals find their wants better satisfied by giving certain products which they can make best, in return for other products they are less skilled in making, or not so well circumstanced for making, there is initiated a kind of organization which then, and throughout its higher stages, results from endeavours to meet personal needs. Division of labour, to the last as at first, grows by experience of mutual facilitations in living. Each new specialization of industry arises from the effort of one who commences it to get profit; and establishes itself by conducing in some way to the profit of others. So that there is a kind of concerted action, with an elaborate social organization developed by it, which does not originate in deliberate concert. Though within the small subdivisions of this organization, we find everywhere repeated the relation of employer and employed, of whom the one directs the actions of the other; yet this relation, spontaneously formed in aid of private ends and continued only at will, is not formed with conscious reference to achievement of public ends: these are not thought of. And though, for regulating trading activities, there arise agencies serving to adjust the supplies of commodities to the demands; yet such agencies do this not by direct stimulations or restraints, but by communicating information which serves to stimulate or restrain; and, further, these agencies grow up not for the avowed purpose of thus regulating, but in the pursuit of gain by individuals. So unintentionally has there arisen the elaborate division of labour by which production and distribution are now carried on, that only in modern days has there come a recognition of the fact that it has all along been arising.
On the other hand, cooperation for a purpose immediately concerning the whole society, is a conscious cooperation; and is carried on by an organization of another kind, formed in a different way. When the primitive group has to defend itself against other groups, its members act together under further stimuli than those constituted by purely personal desires. Even at the outset, before any control by a chief exists, there is the control exercised by the group over its members; each of whom is obliged, by public opinion, to join in the general defence. Very soon the warrior of recognized superiority begins to exercise over each, during war, an influence additional to that exercised by the group; and when his authority becomes established, it greatly furthers combined action. From the beginning, therefore, this kind of social cooperation is a conscious cooperation, and a cooperation which is not wholly a matter of choice—is often at variance with private wishes. As the organization initiated by it develops, we see that, in the first place, the fighting division of the society displays in the highest degree these same traits: the grades and divisions constituting an army, cooperate more and more under the regulation, consciously established, of agencies which override individual volitions—or, to speak strictly, control individuals by motives which prevent them from acting as they would spontaneously act. In the second place, we see that throughout the society as a whole there spreads a kindred form of organization—kindred in so far that, for the purpose of maintaining the militant body and the government which directs it, there are established over citizens, agencies which force them to labour more or less largely for public ends instead of private ends. And, simultaneously, there develops a further organization, still akin in its fundamental principle, which restrains individual actions in such wise that social safety shall not be endangered by the disorder consequent on unchecked pursuit of personal ends. So that this kind of social organization is distinguished from the other, as arising through conscious pursuit of public ends; in furtherance of which individual wills are constrained, first by the joint wills of the entire group, and afterwards more definitely by the will of a regulative agency which the group evolves.
Most clearly shall we perceive the contrast between these two kinds of organization on observing that, while they are both instrumental to social welfare, they are instrumental in converse ways. That organization shown us by the division of labour for industrial purposes, exhibits combined action; but it is a combined action which directly seeks and subserves the welfares of individuals, and indirectly subserves the welfare of society as a whole by preserving individuals. Conversely, that organization evolved for governmental and defensive purposes, exhibits combined action; but it is a combined action which directly seeks and subserves the welfare of the society as a whole, and indirectly subserves the welfares of individuals by protecting the society. Efforts for self-preservation by the units originate the one form of organization; while efforts for self-preservation by the aggregate originate the other form of organization. In the first case there is conscious pursuit of private ends only; and the correlative organization resulting from this pursuit of private ends, growing up unconsciously, is without coercive power. In the second case there is conscious pursuit of public ends; and the correlative organization, consciously established, exercises coercion.
Of these two kinds of cooperation and the structures effecting them, we are here concerned only with one. Political organization is to be understood as that part of social organization which consciously carries on directive and restraining functions for public ends. It is true, as already hinted, and as we shall see presently, that the two kinds are mingled in various ways—that each ramifies through the other more or less according to their respective degrees of predominance. But they are essentially different in origin and nature; and for the present we must, so far as may be, limit our attention to the last.
§ 442. That the cooperation into which men have gradually risen secures to them benefits which could not be secured while, in their primitive state, they acted singly; and that, as an indispensable means to this cooperation, political organization has been, and is, advantageous; we shall see on contrasting the states of men who are not politically organized, with the states of men who are politically organized in less or greater degrees.
There are, indeed, conditions under which as good an individual life is possible without political organization as with it. Where, as in the habitat of the Esquimaux, there are but few persons and these widely scattered; where there is no war, probably because the physical impediments to it are great and the motives to it feeble; and where circumstances make the occupations so uniform that there is little scope for division of labour; mutual dependence can have no place, and the arrangements which effect it are not needed. Recognizing this exceptional case, let us consider the cases which are not exceptional.
The Digger Indians, “very few degrees removed from the ourang-outang,” who, scattered among the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, sheltering in holes and living on roots and vermin, “drag out a miserable existence in a state of nature, amid the most loathsome and disgusting squalor,” differ from the other divisions of the Shoshones by their entire lack of social organization. The river-haunting and plain-haunting divisions of the race, under some, though but slight, governmental control, lead more satisfactory lives. In South America the Chaco Indians, low in type as are the Diggers, and like them degraded and wretched in their lives, are similarly contrasted with the superior and more comfortable savages around them in being dissociated. Among the Bedouin tribes, the Sherarat are unlike the rest in being divided and sub-divided into countless bands which have no common chief; and they are described as being the most miserable of the Bedouins. More decided still is the contrast noted by Baker between certain adjacent African peoples. Passing suddenly, he says, from the unclothed, ungoverned tribes—from the “wildest savagedom to semi-civilisation”—we come, in Unyoro, to a country ruled by “an unflinching despot,” inflicting “death or torture” for “the most trivial offences;” but where they have developed administration, sub-governors, taxes, good clothing, arts, agriculture, architecture. So, too, concerning New Zealand when first discovered, Cook remarked that there seemed to be greater prosperity and populousness in the regions subject to a king.
These last cases introduce us to a further truth. Not only does that first step in political organization which places individuals under the control of a tribal chief, bring the advantages gained by better cooperation; but such advantages are increased when minor political heads become subject to a major political head. As typifying the evils which are thereby avoided, I may name the fact that among the Beloochees, whose tribes, unsubordinated to a general ruler, are constantly at war with one another, it is the habit to erect a small mud tower in each field, where the possessor and his retainers guard his produce: a state of things allied to, but worse than, that of the Highland clans, with their strongholds for sheltering women and cattle from the inroads of their neighbours, in days when they were not under the control of a central power. The benefits derived from such wider control, whether of a simple head or of a compound head, were felt by the early Greeks when an Amphictyonic council established the laws that “no Hellenic tribe is to lay the habitations of another level with the ground; and from no Hellenic city is the water to be cut off during a siege.” How-that advance of political structure which unites smaller communities into larger ones furthers welfare, was shown in our own country when, by the Roman conquest, the incessant fights between tribes were stopped; and again, in later days, when feudal nobles, becoming subject to a monarch, were debarred from private wars. Under its converse aspect the same truth was illustrated when, amidst the anarchy which followed the collapse of the Carolingian empire, dukes and counts, resuming their independence, became active enemies to one another: their state being such that “when they were not at war they lived by open plunder.” And the history of Europe has repeatedly, in many places and times, furnished kindred illustrations.
While political organization, as it extends itself throughout masses of increasing size, directly furthers welfare by removing that impediment to cooperation which the antagonisms of individuals and of tribes cause, it indirectly furthers it in another way. Nothing beyond a rudimentary division of labour can arise in a small social group. Before commodities can be multiplied in their kinds, there must be multiplied kinds of producers; and before each commodity can be produced in the most economical way, the different stages in the production of it must be apportioned among special hands. Nor is this all. Neither the required complex combinations of individuals, nor the elaborate mechanical appliances which facilitate manufacture, can arise in the absence of a large community, generating a great demand.
§ 443. But though the advantages gained by cooperation presuppose political organization, this political organization necessitates disadvantages; and it is quite possible for these disadvantages to outweigh the advantages. The controlling structures have to be maintained; the restraints they impose have to be borne; and the evils inflicted by taxation and by tyranny may become greater than the evils prevented.
Where, as in the East, the rapacity of monarchs has sometimes gone to the extent of taking from cultivators so much of their produce as to have afterwards to return part for seed, we see exemplified the truth that the agency which maintains order may cause miseries greater than the miseries caused by disorder. The state of Egypt under the Romans, who, on the native set of officials superposed their own set, and who made drafts on the country’s resources not for local administration only but also for imperial administration, furnishes an instance. Beyond the regular taxes there were demands for feeding and clothing the military, wherever quartered. Extra calls were continually made on the people for maintaining public works and subaltern agents. Men in office were themselves so impoverished by exactions that they “assumed dishonourable employments or became the slaves of persons in power.” Gifts made to the government were soon converted into forced contributions. And those who purchased immunities from extortions found them disregarded as soon as the sums asked had been received. More terrible still were the curses following excessive development of political organization in Gaul, during the decline of the Roman empire:—
“So numerous were the receivers in comparison with the payers, and so enormous the weight of taxation, that the labourer broke down, the plains became deserts, and woods grew where the plough had been.… It were impossible to number the officials who were rained upon every province and town.… The crack of the lash and the cry of the tortured filled the air. The faithful slave was tortured for evidence against his master, the wife to depose against her husband, the son against his sire.… Not satisfied with the returns of the first enumerators, they sent a succession of others, who each swelled the valuation—as a proof of service done; and so the imposts went on increasing. Yet the number of cattle fell off, and the people died. Nevertheless, the survivors had to pay the taxes of the dead.”
And how literally in this case the benefits were exceeded by the mischiefs, is shown by the contemporary statement that “they fear the enemy less than the tax-gatherer: the truth is, that they fly to the first to avoid the last. Hence the one unanimous wish of the Roman populace, that it was their lot to live with the barbarian.” In the same region during later times the lesson was repeated. While internal peace and its blessings were achieved in mediæval France as fast as feudal nobles became subordinate to the king—while the central power, as it grew stronger, put an end to that primitive practice of a blood-revenge which wreaked itself on any relative of an offender, and made the “truce of God” a needful mitigation of the universal savagery; yet from this extension of political organization there presently grew up evils as great or greater—multiplication of taxes, forced loans, groundless confiscations, arbitrary fines, progressive debasements of coinage, and a universal corruption of justice consequent on the sale of offices: the results being that many people died by famine, some committed suicide, while others, deserting their homes, led a wandering life. And then, afterwards, when the supreme ruler, becoming absolute, controlled social action in all its details, through an administrative system vast in extent and ramifications, with the general result that in less than two centuries the indirect taxation alone “crossed the enormous interval between 11 millions and 311,” there came the national impoverishment and misery which resulted in the great revolution. Even the present day supplies kindred evidence from sundry places. A voyage up the Nile shows every observer that the people are better off where they are remote from the centre of government—that is, where administrative agencies cannot so easily reach them. Nor is it only under the barbaric Turk that this happens. Notwithstanding the boasted beneficence of our rule in India, the extra burdens and restraints it involves, have the effect that the people find adjacent countries preferable: the ryots in some parts have been leaving their homes and settling in the territory of the Nizam and in Gwalior.
Not only do those who are controlled suffer from political organization evils which greatly deduct from, and sometimes exceed, the benefits. Numerous and rigid governmental restraints shackle those who impose them, as well as those on whom they are imposed. The successive grades of ruling agents, severally coercing grades below, are themselves coerced by grades above; and even the highest ruling agent is enslaved by the system created for the preservation of his supremacy. In ancient Egypt the daily life of the king was minutely regulated alike as to its hours, its occupations, its ceremonies; so that, nominally all powerful, he was really less free than a subject. It has been, and is, the same with other despotic monarchs. Till lately in Japan, where the form of organization had become fixed, and where, from the highest to the lowest, the actions of life were prescribed in detail, the exercise of authority was so burdensome that voluntary resignation of it was frequent: we read that “the custom of abdication is common among all classes, from the Emperor down to his meanest subject.” European states have exemplified this re-acting tyranny. “In the Byzantine palace,” says Gibbon, “the Emperor was the first slave of the ceremonies he imposed.” Concerning the tedious court life of Louis XIV., Madame de Maintenon remarks—“Save those only who fill the highest stations, I know of none more unfortunate than those who envy them. If you could only form an idea of what it is!”
So that while the satisfaction of men’s wants is furthered both by the maintenance of order and by the formation of aggregates large enough to permit extensive division of labour, it is hindered both by great deductions from the products of their actions, and by the restraints imposed on their actions—usually in excess of the needs. And political control indirectly entails evils on those who exercise it as well as on those over whom it is exercised.
§ 444. The stones composing a house cannot be otherwise used until the house has been pulled down. If the stones are united by mortar, there must be extra trouble in destroying their present combination before they can be re-combined. And if the mortar has had centuries in which to consolidate, the breaking up of the masses formed is a matter of such difficulty, that building with new materials becomes more economical than rebuilding with the old.
I name these facts to illustrate the truth that any arrangement stands in the way of re-arrangement; and that this must be true of organization, which is one kind of arrangement. When, during the evolution of a living body, its component substance, at first relatively homogeneous, has been transformed into a combination of heterogeneous parts, there results an obstacle, always great and often insuperable, to any considerable further change: the more elaborate and definite the structure the greater being the resistance it opposes to alteration. And this, which is conspicuously true of an individual organism, is true, if less conspicuously, of a social organism. Though a society, formed of discrete units, and not having had its type fixed by inheritance from countless like societies, is much more plastic, yet the same principle holds. As fast as its parts are differentiated—as fast as there arise classes, bodies of functionaries, established administrations, these, becoming coherent within themselves and with one another, struggle against such forces as tend to modify them. The conservatism of every long-settled institution daily exemplifies this law. Be it in the antagonism of a church to legislation interfering with its discipline; be it in the opposition of an army to abolition of the purchase-system; be it in the disfavour with which the legal profession at large has regarded law-reform; we see that neither in their structures nor in their modes of action, are parts that have once been specialized easily changed.
As it is true of a living body that its various acts have as their common end self-preservation, so is it true of its component organs that they severally tend to preserve themselves in their integrity. And, similarly, as it is true of a society that maintenance of its existence is the aim of its combined actions, so it is true of its separate classes, its sets of officials, its other specialized parts, that the dominant aim of each is to maintain itself. Not the function to be performed, but the sustentation of those who perform the function, becomes the object in view: the result being that when the function is needless, or even detrimental, the structure still keeps itself intact as long as it can. In early days the history of the Knights Templars furnished an illustration of this tendency. Down to the present time we have before us the familiar instance of trade-guilds in London, which having ceased to perform their original duties, nevertheless jealously defend their possessions and privileges. The convention of Royal Burghs in Scotland, which once regulated the internal municipal laws, still meets annually though it has no longer any work to do. And the accounts given in The Black Book of the sinecures which survived up to recent times, yield multitudinous illustrations.
The extent to which an organization resists re-organization, we shall not fully appreciate until we observe that its resistance increases in a compound progression. For while each new part is an additional obstacle to change, the formation of it involves a deduction from the forces causing change. If, other things remaining the same, the political structures of a society are further developed—if existing institutions are extended or fresh ones set up—if for directing social activities in greater detail, extra staffs of officials are appointed; the simultaneous results are—an increase in the aggregate of those who form the regulating part, and a corresponding decrease in the aggregate of those who form the part regulated. In various ways all who compose the controlling and administrative organization, become united with one another and separated from the rest. Whatever be their particular duties, they are similarly related to the governing centres of their departments, and, through them, to the supreme governing centre; and are habituated to like sentiments and ideas respecting the set of institutions in which they are incorporated. Receiving their subsistence through the national revenue, they tend towards kindred views and feelings respecting the raising of such revenue. Whatever jealousies there may be between their divisions, are over-ridden by sympathy when any one division has its existence or privileges endangered; since the interference with one division may spread to others. Moreover, they all stand in similar relations to the rest of the community, whose actions are in one way or other superintended by them; and hence are led into allied beliefs respecting the need for such superintendence and the propriety of submitting to it. No matter what their previous political opinions may have been, men cannot become public agents of any kind without being biassed towards opinions congruous with their functions. So that, inevitably, each further growth of the instrumentalities which control, or administer, or inspect, or in any way direct social forces, increases the impediment to future modifications, both positively by strengthening that which has to be modified, and negatively, by weakening the remainder; until at length the rigidity becomes so great that change is impossible and the type becomes fixed.
Nor does each further development of political organization increase the obstacles to change, only by increasing the power of the regulators and decreasing the power of the regulated. For the ideas and sentiments of a community as a whole, adapt themselves to the régime familiar from childhood, in such wise that it comes to be looked upon as natural. In proportion as public agencies occupy a larger space in daily experience, leaving but a smaller space for other agencies, there comes a greater tendency to think of public control as everywhere needful, and a less ability to conceive of activities as otherwise controlled. At the same time the sentiments, adjusted by habit to the regulative machinery, become enlisted on its behalf, and adverse to the thought of a vacancy to be made by its absence. In brief, the general law that the social organism and its units act and re-act until congruity is reached, implies that every further extension of political organization increases the obstacle to re-organization, not only by adding to the strength of the regulative part, and taking from the strength of the part regulated, but also by producing in citizens thoughts and feelings in harmony with the resulting structure, and out of harmony with anything substantially different. Both France and Germany exemplify this truth. M. Comte, while looking forward to an industrial state, was so swayed by the conceptions and likings appropriate to the French form of society, that his scheme of organization for the ideal future, prescribes arrangements characteristic of the militant type, and utterly at variance with the industrial type. Indeed, he had a profound aversion to that individualism which is a product of industrial life and gives the character to industrial institutions. So, too, in Germany, we see that the socialist party, who are regarded and who regard themselves as wishing to re-organize society entirely, are so incapable of really thinking away from the social type under which they have been nurtured, that their proposed social system is in essence nothing else than a new form of the system they would destroy. It is a system under which life and labour are to be arranged and superintended by public instrumentalities, omnipresent like those which already exist and no less coercive: the individual having his life even more regulated for him than now.
While, then, the absence of settled arrangements negatives cooperation, yet cooperation of a higher kind is hindered by the arrangements which facilitate cooperation of a lower kind. Though without established connexions among parts, there can be no combined actions; yet the more extensive and elaborate such connexions grow, the more difficult does it become to make improved combinations of actions. There is an increase of the forces which tend to fix, and a decrease of the forces which tend to unfix; until the fully-structured social organism, like the fully-structured individual organism, becomes no longer adaptable.
§ 445. In a living animal, formed as it is of aggregated units originally like in kind, the progress of organization implies, not only that the units composing each differentiated part severally maintain their positions, but also that their progeny succeed to those positions. Bile-cells which, while performing their functions, grow and give origin to new bile-cells, are, when they decay and disappear, replaced by these: the cells descending from them do not migrate to the kidneys, or the muscles, or the nervous centres, to join in the performance of their duties. And, evidently, unless the specialized units each organ is made of, produced units similarly specialized, which remained in the same place, there could be none of those settled relations among parts which characterize the organism, and fit it for its particular mode of life.
In a society also, establishment of structure is favoured by the transmission of positions and functions through successive generations. The maintenance of those class-divisions which arise as political organization advances, implies the inheritance of a rank and a place in each class. The like happens with those sub-divisions of classes which, in some societies, constitute castes, and in other societies are exemplified by incorporated trades. Where custom or law compels the sons of each worker to follow their father’s occupation, there result among the industrial structures obstacles to change analogous to those which result in the regulative structures from impassable divisions of ranks. India shows this in an extreme degree; and in a less degree it was shown by the craft-guilds of early days in England, which facilitated adoption of a craft by the children of those engaged in it, and hindered adoption of it by others. Thus we may call inheritance of position and function, the principle of fixity in social organization.
There is another way in which succession by inheritance, whether to class-position or to occupation, conduces to stability. It secures supremacy of the elder; and supremacy of the elder tends towards maintenance of the established order. A system under which a chief-ruler, sub-ruler, head of clan or house, official, or any person having the power given by rank or property, retains his place until at death it is filled by a descendant, in conformity with some accepted rule of succession, is a system under which, by implication, the young, and even the middle-aged, are excluded from the conduct of affairs. So, too, where an industrial system is such that the son, habitually brought up to his father’s business, cannot hold a master’s position till his father dies, it follows that the regulative power of the elder over the processes of production and distribution, is scarcely at all qualified by the power of the younger. Now it is a truth daily exemplified, that increasing rigidity of organization, necessitated by the process of evolution, produces in age an increasing strength of habit and aversion to change. Hence it results that succession to place and function by inheritance, having as its necessary concomitant a monopoly of power by the eldest, involves a prevailing conservatism; and thus further insures maintenance of things as they are.
Conversely, social change is facile in proportion as men’s places and functions are determinable by personal qualities. Members of one rank who establish themselves in another rank, in so far directly break the division between the ranks; and they indirectly weaken it by preserving their family relations with the first, and forming new ones with the second; while, further, the ideas and sentiments pervading the two ranks, previously more or less different, are made to qualify one another and to work changes of character. Similarly if, between sub-divisions of the producing and distributing classes, there are no barriers to migration, then, in proportion as migrations are numerous, influences physical and mental, following inter-fusion, alter the natures of their units; at the same time that they check the establishment of differences of nature caused by differences of occupation. Such transpositions of individuals between class and class, or group and group, must, on the average, however, depend on the fitnesses of the individuals for their new places and duties. Intrusions will ordinarily succeed only where the intruding citizens have more than usual aptitudes for the businesses they undertake. Those who desert their original functions, are at a disadvantage in the competition with those whose functions they assume; and they can overcome this disadvantage only by force of some superiority: must do the new thing better than those born to it, and so tend to improve the doing of it by their example. This leaving of men to have their careers determined by their efficiencies, we may therefore call the principle of change in social organization.
As we saw that succession by inheritance conduces in a secondary way to stability, by keeping authority in the hands of those who by age are made most averse to new practices, so here, conversely, we may see that succession by efficiency conduces in a secondary way to change. Both positively and negatively the possession of power by the young facilitates innovation. While the energies are overflowing, little fear is felt of those obstacles to improvement and evils it may bring, which, when energies are failing, look formidable; and at the same time the greater imaginativeness that goes along with higher vitality, joined with a smaller strength of habit, facilitates acceptance of fresh ideas and adoption of untried methods. Since, then, where the various social positions come to be respectively filled by those who are experimentally proved to be the fittest, the relatively young are permitted to exercise authority, it results that succession by efficiency furthers change in social organization, indirectly as well as directly.
Contrasting the two, we thus see that while the acquirement of function by inheritance conduces to rigidity of structure, the acquirement of function by efficiency conduces to plasticity of structure. Succession by descent favours the maintenance of that which exists. Succession by fitness favours transformation, and makes possible something better.
§ 446. As was pointed out in § 228, “complication of structure accompanies increase of mass,” in social organisms as in individual organisms. When small societies are compounded into a larger society, the controlling agencies needed in the several component societies must be subordinated to a central controlling agency: new structures are required. Recompounding necessitates a kindred further complexity in the governmental arrangements; and at each of such stages of increase, all other arrangements must become more complicated. As Duruy remarks—“By becoming a world in place of a town, Rome could not conserve institutions established for a single city and a small territory.… How was it possible for sixty millions of provincials to enter the narrow and rigid circle of municipal institutions?” The like holds where, instead of extension of territory, there is only increase of population. The contrast between the simple administrative system which sufficed in old English times for a million people, and the complex administrative system at present needed for many millions, sufficiently indicates this general truth.
But now, mark a corollary. If, on the one hand, further growth implies more complex structure, on the other hand, changeableness of structure is a condition to further growth; and, conversely, unchangeableness of structure is a concomitant of arrested growth. Like the correlative law just noted, this law is clearly seen in individual organisms. Necessarily, transition from the small immature form to the large mature form in a living creature, implies that all the parts have to be changed in their sizes and connexions: every detail of every organ has to be modified; and this implies the retention of plasticity. Necessarily, also, when, on approaching maturity, the organs are assuming their final arrangement, their increasing definiteness and firmness constitute an increasing impediment to growth: the un-building and re-building required before there can be re-adjustment, become more and more difficult. So is it with a society. Augmentation of its mass necessitates change of the preexisting structures, either by incorporation of the increment with them, or by their extension through it. Every further elaboration of the arrangements entails an additional obstacle to this; and when rigidity is reached, such modifications of them as increase of mass would involve, are impossible, and increase is prevented.
Nor is this all. Controlling and administrative instrumentalities antagonize growth by absorbing the materials for growth. Already when pointing out the evils which accompany the benefits gained by political organization, this effect has been indirectly implied. Governmental expenditure, there represented as deducting from the lives of producers by taking away their produce, has for its ulterior result deducting from the life of the community: depletion of the units entails depletion of the aggregate. Where the abstraction of private means for public purposes is excessive, the impoverishment leads to decrease of population; and where it is less excessive, to arrest of population. Clearly those members of a society who form the regulative parts, together with all their dependents, have to be supplied with the means of living by the parts which carry on the processes of production and distribution; and if the regulative parts go on increasing relatively to the other parts, there must eventually be reached a point at which they absorb the entire surplus, and multiplication is stopped by innutrition.
Hence a significant relation between the structure of a society and its growth Organization in excess of need, prevents the attainment of that larger size and accompanying higher type which might else have arisen.
§ 447. To aid our interpretations of the special facts presently to be dealt with, we must keep in mind the foregoing general facts. They may be summed up as follows:—
Cooperation is made possible by society, and makes society possible. It pre-supposes associated men; and men remain associated because of the benefits cooperation yields them.
But there cannot be concerted actions without agencies by which actions are adjusted in their times, amounts, and kinds; and the actions cannot be of various kinds without the cooperators undertaking different duties. That is to say, the cooperators must become organized, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
The organization which cooperation implies, is of two kinds, distinct in origin and nature. The one, arising directly from the pursuit of individual ends, and indirectly conducing to social welfare, develops unconsciously and is non-coercive. The other, arising directly from the pursuit of social ends, and indirectly conducing to individual welfare, develops consciously and is coercive.
While, by making cooperation possible, political organization achieves benefits, deductions from these benefits are entailed by the organization. Maintenance of it is costly; and the cost may become a greater evil than the evils escaped. It necessarily imposes restraints; and these restraints may become so extreme that anarchy, with all its miseries, is preferable.
An established organization is an obstacle to re-organization. Self-sustentation is the primary aim of each part as of the whole; and hence parts once formed tend to continue, whether they are or are not useful. Moreover, each addition to the regulative structures, implying, other things equal, a simultaneous deduction from the rest of the society which is regulated, it results that while the obstacles to change are increased, the forces causing change are decreased.
Maintenance of a society’s organization implies that the units forming its component structures shall severally be replaced as they die. Stability is favoured if the vacancies they leave are filled without dispute by descendants; while change is favoured if the vacancies are filled by those who are experimentally proved to be best fitted for them. Succession by inheritance is thus the principle of social rigidity; while succession by efficiency is the principle of social plasticity.
Though, to make cooperation possible, and therefore to facilitate social growth, there must be organization, yet the organization formed impedes further growth; since further growth implies re-organization, which the existing organization resists; and since the existing organization absorbs part of the material for growth.
So that while, at each stage, better immediate results may be achieved by completing organization, they must be at the expense of better ultimate results.