The socialists put great importance on general happiness and social welfare and advocate maximum functions of the State. The individualists, on the other hand, talk of minimum functions of the State. Thus, there is no final answer to the question as to what are the exact functions or activities of the State. Political philosophers in different ages have given different theories.
Most of these theories may be broadly classified into two groups, namely the Individualistic Theory and the Socialistic Theory. These two theories are opposed to each other. The individualistic theory puts emphasis on the role of the individuals. It believes in the freedom of individuals.
It limits the activities of the State to the minimum. In short, the individualistic theory views the State as “a necessary evil”. The socialists put forth just the opposite view of the functions of the State.
They advocate the maximum functions of the State and do not favor any limitation of the State activities. They favour the State ownership and management of all means of production for the sake of social justice and more equitable distribution of the wealth. To them progress and prosperity of the individuals depend upon the progress and prosperity of the society as a whole and to achieve this goal, the State is viewed as the chief instrumental agency.
Hence the socialists reject the idea of the minimum government and less powers for the State.