A fundamental problem of government, in an age in which the preservation of individual liberty has come to be justly prized as an essential element of the common good, is the maintenance of a proper balance between liberty and authority. Where one would locate the balance point in a precise case, of course, depends on the values assigned to the particular liberty that is to be abridged and the social interest to be defended. Yet, in all cases in which social interests are at stake, there must be a point at which the protection of freedom can begin to undermine the capacity of society to promote effectively the well-being of its members. Until recent years, judicial power, notably in the United States, could generally be counted on to be on the side of the persons and groups with ample economic resources who zealously insisted upon the recognition of the widest scope for their economic liberty. This judicial defense of the economic liberty of those capable of assuming a position of dominance in society in the absence of government intervention came under increasingly bitter criticism in the early years of the twentiethth century from observers who perceived that such liberty could be maintained only at the expense of government efforts to promote the social welfare.