This refreshingly different discussion of laws, customs, and agencies examines the underlying political, cultural, and ethical structures that bind a society and define its character.
At a time of major national unheavals, Robert R. Chambers reconsiders the nature of a best society and how it can be achieved. Human behavior is organized by means of two distinct, often opposing, types of rules, each with its own modus operandi and set of ethical principles. The conflicts of rules take on a wider, more compelling dimension when they are used in mixtures, as they are in all states.
To illustrate his theory, Chambers describes two model island societies. In the “status” society the rules are appropriate to people working together as a team; in the “free” society, the rules are appropriate to people who relate to one another as neighbors. He analyzes the systems and structures in each type of society and illustrates the inherent conflicts between the two types of rules when used in various combinations.
Although purely theoretical, significant elements of Chambers’ discussion clearly mirror current social and political difficulties facing democracies and socialist regimes. Political Theory and Societal Ethics is an important addition to the debates over the merits of different configurations of rules and of democratic versus centrally run societies.