Effects Of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse On Inequality

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Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth (The Guardian, 2014). Classical and neoliberalism are formed around the idea that social inequality is a "natural" feature of societies, is therefore inevitable. Marxism believe that inequality must be reduced or eliminated. The starting point of inequality can be found in the move from hunter/gatherer societies to agricultural societies. In hunter/gather societies, people grew and collected their food for all of their needs. Everyone was depended on one another and the division of labor was small. There was very little trading between the groups and there was not a surplus of goods. In agricultural societies, humans settled down in one place and the population increased. People had…show more content…
People farmed land in a collective way because they saw it as something for everyone to take care of and for everyone to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The idea of private property started to thrive in the late fifteenth century starting in Europe. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French Enlightenment thinker linked private property with inequality in his book, Discourse on Inequality. Collective land and space, once shared by all, began to be divided up into private takings and private ownership. The right to private property is an important value in societies. Rousseau was indebted to both Hobbes and Locke. But, in Rousseau, human beings in the state of nature are basically good. Rousseau saw the origins of private property in theft. What used to belong to all is expropriated for the use of one person. The natural equality of all human beings in the state of nature is subverted into the social classes of his own and our time. "Men are born free and everywhere they are in chains," was one of Rousseau's famous sayings. It is civilization which corrupts human

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