Private Interests and Social Welfare

2341 Words10 Pages
The human civilisation is composed of innumerable individuals, countless interest groups and social strata, with each of them following the fundamental instinct – striving to maximise their own well-being by obtaining as many benefits as they can and averting as much cost as possible. Unfortunately for humankind, for one to improve one’s life, competing with others is unavoidable. Competitions, by definition, means the winners get something at the expense of others. The good news is that competition among people is not a constant-sum game, that is to say, theoretically, if we can reallocate resources, rights and duties in a certain way, the humankind may benefit maximally. In the most ideal case, the self-interest of each individual and…show more content…
(Book II, Chapter VII, para. 44)

Different from Huang’s idea that the emperor is still superior, Rousseau’s theory about politics assumes there is an ever-righteous General Will. Rousseau’s solution to the problem is based on this belief. He argues that the General Will is the only binding force that can be exerted on the individuals, so a law bill drawn by a however intelligent legislator, which is a particular will of an individual cannot become law before being authorised by the sovereignty. (Book II, Chapter VII, para. 47) The separation of power of drawing a law bill and legislation will therefore prevent the self-interest of the legislator impeding the collective welfare. Because General Will is the aggregation of many individual wills, it is possible to verify if a law bill proposed is in line with the General Will by consulting the citizens’ opinions, e.g. by free vote. When law bills are widely supported and scrutinised by the citizens, one can be assured that the social welfare is not impeded by the legislators’ private interest. #

I believe Huang’s proposal is a great advancement in China’s political history, for the pioneering idea that the emperor’s performance should be scrutinised thoroughly is raised. However, I cannot persuade myself to fully trust such a system, in which one may spot a number of weaknesses.
Firstly, the “school” is merely an advisory body, rather than a body that
Get Access