What are the essential functions of a State?

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The state cannot perform all functions; in practice, the state is not capable of fulfilling all the necessities of individual. According to Mac Iver and Page, there are four distinct categories of functions of the state. They are:

(1) Functions peculiar to the state,

(2) Functions for which the state is well adopted,

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(3) Functions for which the state is ill adopted,

(4) Functions, which the state is incapable of performing.

These are discussed in the following.

(1) Functions peculiar to the state:

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Although there is a general difference of opinion as to this kind of function, it must be admitted that state alone can perform these functions. No other agency can execute such functions, it alone can guarantee equal facilities and opportunities to all members, it can fix up minimum standard for decent living. Nor is this all. The state can organize justice, peace, education and determine the scales of measurement. All these functions can alone be performed by the state.

(2) Functions for which the state is well adopted:

These are the functions, which the state can perform more successfully than any other organization. Such functions include the conservation of natural resources such as forests, fisheries, wild animals and minerals. Another function of the state consists in the provision of education to all the members. The state consists in the provision of education to all the members. The state can consists in the provision of education to all the members. The state can contribute to the development of science and art also. Apart from these things, the other functions such as the provision of public parks, museums, playgrounds etc. are included in this category.

(3) Functions for which the state is ill adopted:

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There are some functions, which the state cannot perform as effectively as some other agencies. In this category, we included many cultural, religious and class addicted activities for welfare, which the state is ill adopted to perform. These functions can be performed in a better way by other private organizations.

(4) Functions, which the state is incapable of performing:

There are many functions, which cannot come under the control of the state. For example, the state cannot control public opinion, it cannot regulate the conduct of the individuals, it cannot change the customs, traditions, conventions of the society, it cannot control religion. It short, the state cannot control the details of conduct and culture. All these things remain outside the sphere of state control.

Ii can be concluded the state cannot perform all the functions. It does so possess supreme power in so far as these functions are concerned.

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