Author- Varri Tejaswitha


The relation between an individual, society and the state have been changing from time to time and various theories have been propounded by various persons from time to time. Law plays a very important role in the life of an individual. Law has been changed and modified from time to time. In the beginning, society was governed by customs and after that supremacy of the priests and then the state came into existence and it has been dominated by the institutions.

There were political changes and revolutions. Human wants has been increasing always whether then or now .The necessity of balancing the human wants and welfare of the society has been realized. Every human want cannot be fulfilled. It is impossible to fulfill all the human wants and desires. These wants and desires have been termed as an interest[1].

When the secular state came into existence they were many revolutions leading to political transitions. Actually society and human life always go hand in hand. Every human being has his or her own desire but it is impossible to fulfill all the desires of the human beings. So to balance both the things a concept came into existence which is known as social engineering which is given by Roscoe pound.


Law is a set of rules and regulations which is used for regulating the society as well as stating what to do, what not to do and how to do it. It not only provides fundamental rights but also enables protection and maintains equality among every citizens.Every nation has its own law and it should be followed by everyone, if it is not followed then punishment would be under law.

Law is very important to society because it keeps the society running and it also acts guidelines as to what to be accepted in the society. If law wouldn’t be there then there will be no police, government and more crimes will occur. They will be a monarchial system with no reasonable rule leading to a societal break down.[2].


His full name is Nathan Roscoe Pound. He was born on October 27, 1870 Lincoln, Nebraska, US and died on July 1st 1964 Cambridge masschusetts[3]. He was an American jurist, botanist,educator and chief advocate of sociological jurisprudence.He was a leader in the reform of the court and administration of the United States. The Journal of Legal Studies has identified pound as one of the most cited legal scholars in the 20th century. He was famous for his theory of social engineering. He gave theory of interests which describes the law as social engineering.

As we know society and human life always goes hand in hand. From children to old people from every passion have own desire. The desires and claims have been termed as interests. It is impossible to fulfill all desires of the human beings. So in order to fulfill any of these things Social Engineering was emerged and coined by Roscoe Pound. Social Engineering states that the theory of laws are created to shape the society and also to regulate the people’s behavior. According to Pound law is social engineering which means a balance between competing interests in the society[4].


Social Engineering has been termed as engineering because pound compared the work of the lawyers to the engineers. Actually the work of engineers is to produce finished products into the society which is based on continuous experimentation and experience. In the same way the aim of social engineering is to build up the society by satisfying of maximum wants with minimum usage of resources. It involves the balancing of competing interests.

The first word social which means a group of people forming a society. The second word states that engineers to produce finished goods based on continuous experimentation and experimentation to get the finished product by means of an instrument or device. He classified the interests into three types:[5]

· Private interest.

· Public interest.

· Social interest.


It is also known as individual interest. According to pound it is defines as claims or desires or demands from the point of the individual .individual interest includes:[6]

· Personality

· Domestic relations.

· Interest of substance.


It states about the:

1. The physical person.

2. Freedom of will.

3. Honor and reputation.

4. Privacy and sensibilities.

5. Belief and opinion.

Domestic relation:

It is necessary to distinguish the domestic relations and individual interests in a society. The relations are family and marriage. It includes:

1. Parents and children.

2. Husband and wife.

3. Marital interest.

Interest of substance:

It includes:

1. Interest of property.

2. Succession and testamentary disposition.

3. Freedom of industry and contract.

4. Promised advantages.

5. Advantages of relation with others.

6. Freedom of association.

7. Continuity of employment.


According to pound, claims and desires at point life in politically organized society. It includes:[7]

· Interest of state as a juristic person.

· Interest of state as a guardian of social interest.

Interest of state as a juristic person:

It includes interest of state as a juristic person that is protection, claims of the politically organized society as a corporation to property acquired and held for corporate purposes.

Interest of state as a guardian of social interest:

It states that superintendence and administration of trusts, charitable endowments, protection of natural environment ,territorial waters, sea shores, regulation of public employment and so on and make use of thing which are open to public use .


They are claims, desires; demands thought of in terms of social life and generalized s claims of social groups. It includes:

1. Social interest in general security.

2. Social interest in security of social institutions.

3. Social interest in general morals.

4. Social interests in conservation of social resources.

5. Social interest in general progress.

6. Social interest individual life.

Social interest in general security includes those branches in law which relates to:

· General safety

· General health

· Peace and order

· Security of acquisitions

· Security of transactions.

Social interest in the security of social institutions includes:[8]

·General security of domestic institutions.

· Religious institutions, political institutional

· Economic institutions.

Social interest in general morals;

It states that social morals comprises of prevention and prohibition of prostitution, gambling, drunkenness etc.

Social interest in conservation of social resources:

It includes conservation of social resources and protection of training of dependents and defectives that is conservation of human resources, protective and human resources, education of defectives and dependents, reformation of delinquents, protection of economically dependents.

Social interest in general progress:

It consists of three aspects i.e. economic, political, cultural progress.

· Economic progress: it covers freedom of use, sale of property, free trade, free industry and encouragement of inventions by the grant of patents.

· Political progress: it covers free speech and free association, free opinion, free criticisms.

· Cultural progress: it covers free science, free letters, encouragement of arts and letters, encouragement of higher education at learning and aesthetics.[9]

Social interest individual life:

It says that every individual has a right to live a human according to the individuals.

· Physical life

· Political life

· Economic life

· Social life

· Cultural life.


The problem lies between the evaluation and balancing of these interests. To clear this Roscoe pound came up with some rules called as jural postulates. In 1919, he summarized all the points into four postulates. Every individual in civilized society must be able to take it for granted:

1. He can appropriate for his own use what he has created by his own labor and what he has acquired under the existing economic order.[10]

2. Those others will not commit any intentional aggression upon him.

3. That others will act with due care and will not cost him with an unreasonable risk of injury.

4. That the people with whom he deals will carry out their undertakings and act in good faith.

In 1942 he added three more postulates:

1. That he should security as a job holder

2. That society should bear the burden of supporting him when he becomes aged.

3. That society as a whole will bear all the risk of unforeseen misfortunes such as disablement.

The jural postulates to be applied both by the legislators and the judges for both evaluating and balancing the various interests and harmonizing them.[11]


· The division of public and private interests is criticism on the ground that in fact they are all social interest.

· What to waste and friction mean in relation to conflict of interest is not been explained.

· With laws there can be no detailed plans as the society keeps changing constantly.

· Dias said that interests should not be weighed against each other there should be some differences between them.

· He was mainly criticized by the term engineering.


It is concluded that law plays a very important role in adjusting conflict of interest. Both the social and individual interest co-exists. Both of them have same equal priority .Roscoe pound has give the idea of social engineering for the American society but it has been followed worldwide. Even India has also followed it in forming a social welfare. Both judiciary and legislatives play important role in making the fulfillment of various desires of human beings. So for these new policies, new strategies were applied and have been developed.


1.Shubham Kumar, what is social engineering?,,accessed on

November 4th 2019.

2 Mohd.aqib aslam, jurisprudence, nature and source of law,,accessed on November 4 th 2019.

3.Encyclopedia Britannica. 2020. Roscoe Pound | American Jurist, Botanist, And Educator. [online] Available at: < [Accessed 4 April 2020].

4.Harshagarwal, law as an instrument of social engineering,,accessed on

November 4 th 2019.

5.V D mahajan, jurisprudence and legal theory page no 547, eastern book companies, Lucknow.

6. R W N Dias, jurisprudence, aditya book private ltd, 5th edition, 1994.

7. V D Mahajan, jurisprudence and legal theory page no 549, eastern book companies, Lucknow.

8. R W N Dias jurisprudence, aditya book private ltd, 5th edition, 1994.

9. Manmeet Singh sociological jurisprudence,,accessed on

November 4 th 2019.

10. Govind ramnath kore, roscoe pound on sociological jurisprudence,,accessed on April 4th 2020.

11.NimishMahajan321, 2020. Roscoe Pound. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 4 April 2020].

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