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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 26, June 18, 2011

Problems of Equality of State and Territorial Interests as per the Roman and Greek Viewpoints

Monday 20 June 2011


Roman lawyers, generalising the natural and positive ideas of rights, put forward the fundamental concept that nothing can contradict the nature of society and a person; otherwise they will disappear. The idea of justice was taken as the motto and the fate of views and political regimes which contradicted the nature of society and a person can be an example for it. But the ideas of the utopian socialists, T. More (1478-1535), T. Campanella (1568-1619), A. de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) and others, such as contradiction of the ideal society with the nature of society and a person, especially the aspiration for achieving it with force, led to the crushing of the interests of millions of people and was at the bottom of deep stagnation of societal progress. That’s why it is required to estimate and study any concept from the view of equality of a person and societal interests.

Liberals who opposed the utopian ideas contributed heavily to restore the idea of justice and integrate the interests of the society and a person in the creation of society. In researches of G. Grotsy,1 B. Spinoza,2 D. Locke,3 T. Gobbs, Sh. Monteskye4, J.J. Russo,5 I. Kannt,6 F. Gegel,7 G. Ellinek and others the ways of understanding the interests of a person, society and state, definition of their meaning and achieving equality in social progress were clarified. For example, Golbach emphasised that interest is the force which motivates a person to act; an object with every person connects his conception of happiness8. In his turn, D. Didro said: “When we speak about individual, class, national interests—‘my interests’, ‘state interests’, ‘his interests’, ‘their interests’—we understand that this word is equally useful and necessary for a state, a person, me and others.”

K. Gelvetsky, summarising the views peculiar to interests, wrote that “if the nature obeys the laws of gravitation, the spiritual world obeys the laws of interests”. In his opinion, “interests are at the beginning of all our thoughts and actions”. Then, the French enlighteners of the eighteenth century considered the interests as the force which directs a person’s actions. They tried to determine the mutual relation of interests and its concrete owners and through this way explain their actions.

G. Gegel, also devoting much attention to the interests in his doctrine, emphasises that people’s actions result from their need, incentives and interests.9 In his opinion, the meaning of interests consists of wishes which are directed to satisfy a subject’s activity. By this reason nothing is done without interests.10 He devotes much attention to equalisation of common and state interests. In his opinion, “if citizen’s interests join general state interests, they satisfy each other, the state will be prospering and strong– and this principle is highly important by itself”.11

In today’s social and humanitarian thinking, as well as in political science, the idea of “interest” has different connotations. And this offers certain difficulties in the realisation of the importance of democratic progress and designation of its strategy, consolidation of success in its fulfilment, solving of shortcomings. For example, some people consider that interest is one of objective needs of a person and designate it with social relations, that is, not connected with his will.12 R. MacCayver, on the contrary, insists that social formation is the result of differentiated feelings, there is a differentiated mind behind it, and before it there appear interests.13

The meaning of “territory” as a part of a state appeared with the formation of states. But we can say that for the first time it obtained its present-day meaning, that is, as a formation reflecting in it self-defined interests, owing to American scientists W. Thomas and F. Znaniecki in the early nineteenth century. In their opinion, newly formed institutions (communes etc.) are developed to fulfil definite interests and form a society of people to take part in public work. That’s why a new institution acts as a mediator between the primary peasant union and secondary national system.14 Though in the opinion of W. Thomas and F. Znaniecki the meaning of territory is not fully developed yet, we can say that the ideas of self-government, which had been developed for hundred years, that is, simplifi-cation of relations between the state and its territorial units, was clarified. In order to ensure the equality between citizens of administrative territorial units and the state, its population should understand their common interests and carry them out actively in the social process. At present such activities are carried out with the organisation of state territorial and political forms. Then, ensuring the people’s participation in common administration, integration of their interests can generate the meaning of the definite forms. But they aren’t given exact determination and this leads to certain misunderstandings if the optimum potential of common administration is not used sufficiently.

The study of the problems of equalisation of state and territorial interests gives us an opportunity to draw the following thoughts and opinions:

• The problem of state and territorial interests was based on the idea of “social treaty” first implemented by Ancient Greek and Roman lawyers and the process of development and introduction of this idea to life had been formed throughout centuries. As universally recognised human rights and freedom are individual interests, the ideas of their application by institutions, legal state, society of citizens, governments serve as a criterion for building the state and society.

• In practice, formation of the territorial conception proceeded from the fact that citizens’ economic, cultural and other interests are common and also the application of these interests by united administrative formation serve to develop the ideas of local and self-government.

• In today’s meaning the territorial conception is manifest in organising the social group which possesses political activity and common interests of its inhabitants, that is, direct or indirect fulfilment of local administration by the union of citizens who realise their interests.


1. Grotsy, G., About the Light of War and Peace, Moscow, 1956. p. 74.

2. Spinoza, B., Selected Works, Moscow, 1957.

3. Locke, D., Selected Philosophical Works, Moscow, 1960.

4. Monteskye, Sh., Selected Works, Moscow, 1955.

5. Russo, J.J., Treatise, Moscow, 1969.

6. Kannt, I., Selected Works, Moscow, 1965.

7. Gegel, G.V.F., Philosophy of Rights, Moscow, 1990.

8. Golbach, P., Selected Philosophical Works, Moscow, 1963, V. 1, p. 311.

9. Gegel, G.V.F., Works of Different Years, Moscow, 1972, V. 2, p. 21.

10. Gegel, G.V.F., Works of Different Years, Moscow, 1972, V. 2, p. 20-22.

11. The same book, p. 24.

12. Musayev, N.M., ‘Ideas of interests, its kinds correlation of public and private interests’, Bulletin of Nizhegorodsk University, p. 147. Anokhin, P.V., State interests and human rights: correlation and priority: Author’s abstract of dissertation of the Candidate of Juridicial Science, St. Petersburg, 2001, p.11.

13. MacCayver, R., Reality of Social Eevolution, American Sociological Thought: Texts under V.I. Drobenkova, Moscow, MSU Publishing House, 1994. p. 85.

14. Thomas, W., Znaniecki, F.V., The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, V. 5, New York, 1920, p. 156.

The author is a Candidate of Historical Science in Uzbekistan.

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