Development of the Modern State.
The growth and development of a state into a modern state can be characterized with some specific features. These illustrate the journey and transformation of a state from being feudal and absolutist to a modern state. Features of a modern state are as follows:
- Sharing of power-power is shared or decentralized.
- Rights to participate in a government or in the decision making process.
- Ever-widening sphere of the government.
- Fixed, definite national sovereignty.
The growth of a modern state was uneven and gradual in different parts of the world. A modern state has two primary tasks:
- Working against the rigidities of Mercantilism, and
- Protecting the rights and liberties of the individual.
According to class liberal, a state has to act according to law and without legal sanction it has no right to interfere in the liberties of individuals. These circumstances led to the policy of non-interference of state in the economic activities of the people.
In comparison to classical liberal state, liberal capitalist state was not democratic. Common citizens were kept out of the democratic process of the state. So against this, a reform movement in the 19th century was started by individuals to demand more concessions for the lower strata of people. However, a classical liberal state was based on democratic principles and had given maximum political and civil rights. This modern state started interfering in most aspects of an individual’s life in order to act and plan on behalf of the whole society.
Dominant classes of the society supported the interference of the state for national efficiency whereas dependency of poor masses on the state supports the state’s control on the industrial capitalism so that their living conditions can be improved with the assurance of economic equality and social justice. The association of welfare state with democratic concepts brought political reforms and initiated welfare activities by:
- Providing social and economic rights to the citizens.
- Ending the policy of non-interference of the state in the economic activities.
- Expanding the domain of state’s bureaucracy.
The classical liberal state was kept out of individual affairs but on the contrary, the emergence of a Fascist state in Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal led to lessening and restricting the freedom of individuals and state policies became more rigid and directive. This reversal of the state confused the liberals. Without doubt, this reversal was in the favor of the state but it also took another turn with less directions. All these resulted in the expansion of the state into the whole fabric of civil society and private life became the epitome of excellence.
In reality. the state had fewer challenges to cope with. However, a sudden political slogan to ‘roll back the state’ demanded for a Neo-liberal state that emphasized on globalization.