Theory of Social Engineering by Roscoe Pound

Roscoe Pound is a renowned American legal philosopher and father of the Sociological School of Jurisprudence. The sociological School of Law began in the 19th to 20th century as a reaction against the positivist theory of law. The Sociological School considers customs and society itself as sources of law, arguing that law is not merely about individuals, but about the association of individuals in society.

Roscoe Pound believed that law and society are interdependent and that the law's primary objective is to establish equilibrium and concord in society by resolving conflicts between self-interests and community interests. Then he propounded the "Social Engineering Theory" in which he said law is social engineering and compared lawyers with engineers who use their knowledge and skills to solve disputes between conflicting interests.

According to Pound, "Law is social engineering which means a balance between the competing interests in society," in which applied science is used for resolving individual and social problems."

The Social Engineering Theory believes that the law can be used as a tool to engineer and structure society for the betterment of its members. This theory suggests that lawyers and advocates are social engineers who use their knowledge and experience of the law to create a framework for a better society.

According to Pound, the law should be used as a means of social control to achieve the goals of maximum happiness and minimum friction in society. The social engineering theory emphasizes the role of law in shaping and improving society, and it asserts that the law should be used as a tool to create a harmonious and balanced social order.

Pound classified three kinds of interest private interest, public interest, and social interest. He mentioned that everybody has his own individual interest and considers it supreme over all other interests. The objective of the law is to create a balance between the interests of the people. 

Private Interest: The private interest to be protected by law is the individual interest. According to Pound, individual interests include:

  • Interest of personality comprises of the physical person, willpower,
  • Integrity and reputation, sensitivities, and privacy.
  • Individual's interest in a domestic connection and the interest of society in structures like the family and marriage.
  • Substantive interest, which includes: Property Interests, Succession, Disposition Of A Will, Industry And Contract Freedom,

Public Interest: Public interests are “claims or demands or desires involved in life in a politically organized society and are asserted in the title of that organization. It includes:

  • Interest of the state as a juristic person
  • Interest of the state as guardian of social interest

Social Interest: It includes general safety, security of social institutions, general progress, and individual life.

Law an important role in balancing the conflict of interests in society. Both the social interest and individual interest co-exist and both of them have equal value. When these interests conflict with each other then balance is necessary to maintain peace and order in society. The technique of balancing conflicting interests is termed social engineering.

Judiciary and Legislators play an important role in enacting the statutes which fulfill the various desires of human beings.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 16. Right to live with dignity 
  • Article 25. Right to property
  • Article 31. Right to clean environment
  • Article 34. Right to labor

Act/Statues

  • The Labour Act, 2074
  • The Land Reform Act, 2021
  • The Environment Protection Act, 2076

Judicial Precedent

  • Surya Prasad Sharma Dhungel v. Godavari Marble Industries and others
  • Meera Dhungana v. Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Others

Criticism

  • Lack of clarity
  • Overemphasis on social engineering
  • Failure to consider power dynamics 
  • Limited scope
  • Lack of empirical evidence

In conclusion, law is social engineering because the law is the tool by which judges and lawyers try to settle disputes between the conflicting interests of society. Judges discover new laws in their decisions. Lawyers use their advocacy and counseling skills to settle disputes between different people. Lawyers also filed writ petitions for the shake of justice when any activities of anyone hurt society and individual life.

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