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Law as a means of Social Engineering: Roscoe Pound

Submitted To: Prof. Nancy UILS Panjab University

Submitted By: Raja Sanmanbir Singh Roll No. 89/12 2nd Semester B.A. LL.B. (Hon.)

Nancy. This project could not have been made without the guidance of our Jurisprudence teacher. who not only served as our supervisor. worked extra time for our convenience but also encouraged us to work hard. This project took a long time from the collection of information to the compilation.Acknowledgement I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who put forth their time and efforts to help me to develop this project. Thank you Ma’am. Raja Sanmanbir Singh . Prof.

Roscoe Pound 2.Index Name 1. Social Engineering : The Concept 3. Criticism 5. 1 2 4 8 10 . Conclusion Page No. Theory of Social Engineering 4.

psychology as well as the overall objective traits. ‘Contemporary Juristic Theory’ (1940). ‘Social Control through Law’ (1942). ‘Law and Morals’ (1926). ‘Administrative Law – Its Growth.N.330 . ‘Interpretations of Legal History’ (1923). traditions and needs of each society. ‘The formative Era of the American Law’ (1938). Procedure and Significance’ (1942). Central Law Agency.. S. sociology.Roscoe Pound Dean Roscoe Pound emerged at a period in USA when his fore runners especially Holmes in ‘The Path of Law’ and Cardozo in ‘The Nature of Judicial Process’ had chartered a definite course for legal philosophy oriented to social good and social justice. “Fundamentals of Jurisprudence”.1 1 Dhyani. economics. Some of his celebrated works are the ‘Spirit of the Common Law) (1921). The two great judges of the Supreme Court had brilliantly demonstrated the thesis that law to be correctly understood should be studied in the context of history. ‘An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law’ (1922). p -329. Allahabad. ‘The Task of Law’ (1944) etc. The rule of law and life out to flow together parallel and not in opposite direction.

and always there are adverse conditions imposed upon his activity. must 2 Makkar. so far as possible. Friction and waste.” ‘Interests’. represented by a sacrifice of interests which might be secured. The task is one for human activity. however he could not build at all. ‘desires’. It involved the rebalancing of competing interests. the jurist constructs. must be overcome. there is nevertheless nothing static about it. Manupatra. Like the engineer he must work with resistive materials. “Law as a tool for Social Engineering”. although ‘interests’ sometimes serves as the inclusive term. Karandeep. Jurist must work on. though requiring methodical care.for the most parts of words are used interchangeably in Pound’s writings. Technique and materials may be improved. ‘wants’ . ‘claim’. Roscoe Pound defined the legal order by reference to the end of law : “The legal order may well be though of as a task or as a great series of tasks of social engineering. He introduced the Doctrine of Social Engineering which aims at building and efficient structure of society which would result in the satisfaction of maximum of wants with the minimum of friction and waste.2 Like the engineer. p3 .Social Engineering : The Concept Roscoe Pound was one of the greatest leaders of sociological school of jurisprudence. creates – but not out of thin air. as an elimination of friction and precluding of waste. in the satisfaction of infinite human desires out of a relatively finite store of the material goods of existence. without which.

The engineering analogy stands out as graphic and timely. ever more serviceable structure. These factors are principles as Jural Postulates. P-4 .3 3 Ibid.create and ever greater. He propounds that task of jurists is to find out those factors which would help in the development of culture conducive to the maximization of satisfaction of wants.

its main task being to accelerate the process of social ordering by making all possible efforts to avoid conflicts of interest of individuals in the society. parent and children. Social Interests Private Interests a.Theory of Social Engineering Roscoe Pound conceived law as a ‘social engineering’. and Jurists must work with a plan and make an effort to maintain a balance between the competing interests in society. Administrators. freedom of volition and freedom of conscience. marital life as also the individual’s private interests. Legislators.) Individual’s interests of personality. contracts. He enumerated the various interests which the law should seek to protect and classified them into three broad categories namely :1. b. reputation. constitutional law etc. Public Interests 3.) The interests of domestic relations of persons such as husband and wife. Private Interests 2. namely interests of physical integrity. torts. Courts. Thus. They are safeguarded by laws of crimes. .

“Studies in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory”.) Interests in the preservation of peace. 4 Public Interests The main public interests according to Pound are – a. c. security of transactions etc. general health. Allahabad.) Interests preserving general morals by prohibiting transactions which are against morality such as prostitution. P -72 . charitable endowments. b. Social Interests The social interests which need legal protection are – a. are also included in the category of private interests..) The interests of property.V.) State as a guardian of social interests such as administration of trusts. gambling etc. drunkenness. regulation of public employment and so on. 4 Paranjape. N. b. testamentary disposition. freedom of contractual relations. association etc.) Interests in the preservation of the State as such.c. political and economic institutions etc. Central Law Agency. protection of natural environment. sea shores.) Preserving social institutions such as religion. succession. territorial waters.

physical. freedom of trade and commerce. jurists are to be directed toward the adjustment of relations the compromise of conflicting claims. cultural. Natural resources. If law is viewed as social engineering. its end is conceived to be satisfaction of all 5 Ibid. encouragement to arts and promotion of higher education etc. All the varied activities of legal order or the efforts of the courts. For example. The task of social ordering presupposes a sincere effort to avoid or atleast ameliorate.) Social interests in general progress including economic. freedom of speech and expression. administrators.d. he is reading law and its administration as a part of much wider process of social ordering. protection of economically weaker section of the society. political and cultural progress. the securing of interest by determining of boundaries wherein each maybe asserted with a minimum of friction and the finding of means whereby greater number of claims may be satisfied with a sacrifice of fewer. 5 When he conceives law as a social engineering. f. functioning through courts and administrative agencies with the aid of legal precepts serving as partial guides.73 . e. collisions resulting from conflict of interests. legislatures. social and economic life to suit his taste and improve his personality.) Interests which promote human personality by enabling a person to live political.) Interests in conservation of social resources eg. P-72. reformation of delinquents.

) The importance of reasonable and just solutions of individual cases 6 g.) Sociological study for law making d. In essence the sociological jurists look at law functionally.) Study of judicial method e. They ask how the methods of Jurisprudence work.) A sociological history f.) Study of actual social effects of legal institutions and legal doctrines b. The above facts and considerations should be taken into account by the jurists of sociological jurisprudence to make law purposive. functional and experimental advocating social ordering and control through law. Such an approach considers law as an authoritative guide to decision making. therefore as a science of social engineering is more concerned with actual operation of law rather than its abstract content.’ Law.) Study of the means of making the legal rules effective c.331 . It may be noted that Pound’s techniques of Social Engineering are – a. ‘to promote and maintain ideal relations among mankind. P-330.) Of a ministry of justice to make efforts more effective toward the purpose of legal order. need based and goal oriented. What consequences have flowed from these methods in action? How far they have enabled the law to achieve its end or on the other hand interfered with its achieving them? Pound is pragmatic. It stresses on social purposes which 6 Supra-note 1.demands and securing of all interests with a minimum of conflict so that the means of satisfaction have the widest possible distribution.

This methodology is described by Pound as Social Engineering. Just as engineers minimize friction and waste when dealing with machines similarly jurists ought to enable to resolve conflicts in society in the interests of harmony. P-331 .7 7 Ibid.law serves rather than sanction. reform and progress.

Again Pound’s emphasis on ‘engineering’ ignores the fact that law evolves and develops in the society according to social media and wants for which law may either have approbation or disapprobation. a . his theory suffers from certain drawbacks. Not only that. Law is a social process rather than the result of an applied engineering equating society with a factory is not correct because the former is changing and dynamic in nature whereas the latter is more or less static. and religious minorities having diverse interests. the respective value of these interests and their evaluation also depends on changing political and legal system. Dr. Dr. It has also been argued against Pound’s theory of interests that it has no significance in a pluralistic society where there are linguistic. Friedmann has expressed doubts about the value of classification of interests and remarked that there are changing conceptions as had been accepted by Pound himself. Harmonizing their divergent interest is by no means an easy task to be performed through law and courts. For example.Criticism Despite Pound’s great contribution to sociological jurisprudence and his emphasis on studying the actual working of law in society. Allen has criticized the utilitarian in Pound’s theory as it confines the interpretation of ‘wants and desire’ to only material welfare of individual’s life completely ignoring the personal freedoms which are equally important for a happy social living. ethnic. Pound’s theory of social engineering has been criticized for the use of the term ‘engineering’ which equates society to a factory like mechanism.

liberal progressive government would lay greater emphasis on freedom of individual rights and of established institution but a totalitarian state would suppress the interests of individual in favour of the interest of the state. P-75 . Be that as it may.8 8 Ibid. there is no doubt that through his legal theory Pound has attempted to bring law into closer relation with other social sciences and tried to strike a balance between freedom of individual and social control through the instrumentality of law. His greatest contribution to jurisprudence is that he is practical in approach and concentrate of law in society.

Law tries to remove inequalities and the to benefit whole community rather than a few individuals.Conclusion Law as a tool for social engineering comes into play only when there is unequal distribution of wealth in society or when social justice is denied to certain sections of the people. so to bring equilibrium. .

“Fundamentals of Jurisprudence”... Dhyani. Makkar.V. S. Central Law Agency. Paranjape.N.Bibliography 1. Allahabad . N. Karandeep. Manupatra 3. Central Law Agency. “Studies in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory”. Allahabad 2. “Law as a tool for Social Engineering”.