Social change is presented as being a cyclical process during the course of which patterns of society succeed one another, the rise of each one culminating in a phase of crisis. Development is thus an intermittent process which is characterised by the alternation of phases of relative stability as well as rapid economic growth and of phases of relative instability and abrupt social change. During social crises there occur these processes of the fermentation of social development during which that which exists comes apart and structures itself anew. These phases of crisis must not be interpreted exclusively in terms of economic categories. We are of the opinion that economic collapse, although it constitutes the obvious culminating point, is not the cause of social crises. Rather, this cause must be sought in the process of social destabilisation which has as its outcome economic collapse. Phases of social crisis are characterised by the fact that the commonly held interpretations of the present-day world and prospects for the future are being called into question and are becoming uncertain. This is opening up the way for the phase of "creative destruction," in which new patterns of cultural interpretation are spread in society and produce agreement on the definition of reality. The end of this phase of crisis, marked by processes of restabilisation full of conflict and hard work, coincides with the spread of new social certainty and obviousness; these contribute to forming the outlook on the world and on life of the members of society. During the course of transition towards normalised social phases, there also takes place the spread as well as the stabilisation of a new pattern of interpretation which forms part of the circle of meaning which has spread amongst and compelled the recognition of all members of society. These pauses, which characterise the processes of legislation concerning politics arising out of economic conditions and the protection of the environment in Switzerland during the crisis phase of the end of the sixties and during the seventies give us an opportunity to test this theoretical framework. The object is in both cases the abandonment - created by the anti-state currents of the mid-seventies - of state interventionism of the Keynesian type for the benefit of the liberal project of minimal state control. The core of the social economy pattern of society - namely the social State - which was born during the crisis of the thirties, appeared more and more to be the fundamental ill. Only a small-scale Leviathan seemed to be able to make development and freedom possible.