What Does Rousseau Mean In Discourse On The Origin Of Inequality

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In Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau depicts a scathing review of the state of equality in the world. Rousseau depicts man’s slow devolution to a society ruled by a few while the majority laments in inequality. He depicts how “The extreme inequality in our society,” is demonstrated by “excessive idleness among some, excessive labor among others,” (Rousseau 51). Rousseau notes this political inequality, or difference in social status, was absent in the era of savage man, and later asserts that the regression to political inequality originated with the transition to civil society. Rousseau’s claim that political inequality arises from man’s transition to life in civil society is a sound assertion because in civil society, man develops new desires, each with their …show more content…

Man will always choose to put his own needs ahead of others as his “first concern was that of his preservation,” (69). All the items in the earth could have been equally distributed if it were not for varying talents among men, as certain men are better at turning things to their advantage. For example, a wise man seeking to obtain more money would choose to claim a certain plot of land in order to start a business. Rather than randomly choosing the land, this man would most likely choose a portion of land suitable for his business in both size and quality. This man created an atmosphere of inequality with his fellow man when he chose to claim his preferred plot of land before any other man could think to do the same. With finite resources in existence, certain men will get their preferred items, while other men will get less valued items or no item at all. The origin of this example of inequality began with a man’s desire for a certain good, private property, and his preference for a specific type of that good, which ultimately created an inequality of wealth between this man and his fellow

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