11 Pages

The Four Functions

Although I tried hard to convince them that no true community of happy human beings has ever been founded on money alone, I did not succeed. This state of mind is very common. If we allow it to continue we should be encouraging the perpetuation of all vested interests. It seems that the scale-beam is urgently needed ! But is it right to put the problem in this way ? Not quite, for this scale-beam does already exist. What is needed is only to make it workable again. In other words, the centre in which the four functions meet is man himself; he is the connecting link and the balancing power. Following the terminology of Professor John Macmurray we may call this side of human life the personal life or the social life ; in any case it is something that is different from, but complementary to, the functional life. At the time when the above-mentioned discussion took place I did not see the way as clearly as I do to-day. Now I know that this discussion was about aspects of life that are not comparable. The question whether economic or social problems are to be given primacy in national planning simply

67 cannot be asked. Economic problems are in a different sphere altogether from social problems ; they belong to the sphere of the four functions, while social problems belong to the sphere of the personal life of man and are, in fact, the scale-beam which balances these four functions. The fact that this balancingbeam does not work without friction explains the unbalanced interrelationship between the four functions. Consequently, planning must (a) re-establish the balance between the four functions of housing, working, distributing, recreating ; and (b) free man so that he can live his personal life full of responsibility towards himself and the community and be strong enough to weigh the four functions against each other.