Summary Of Inequality Among Men By Jean Jacque Rousseau

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Inequality is an undoubtedly prominent aspect of society today. Injustice can be found between those of different races, genders, nationalities, and economic and political statuses. One might begin to wonder: how did such imbalance arise in people who are, in essence, very much the same? In his Discourse on the Origin, and the Foundation of Inequality Among Men, Jean-Jacque Rousseau discusses his theories about the sources of inequality in humankind. He, along with other authors, has much evidence to argue that the injustices in society came about as a result of the formation of civilization. In his Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau begins by identifying the qualities of the natural man. Throughout his writing, it is this natural man, oftentimes …show more content…
Hobbes instead believed man to be inherently evil. Rousseau describes Hobbes as believing that “he [the natural man] is vicious because he does not know virtue” (Rousseau, 81). He later goes on to point out that Hobbes considered the savage man as “a robust child”—one who is simultaneously powerfully dangerous and dependent. Rousseau, however, believes that to be robust and dependent are contradictory statements in nature. He believes instead that man becomes weak when he is dependent, and that such dependence on others is one of the foundations of civilization, that which causes inequality among men. In this way, Rousseau rejected the idea of dependence on other humans. Another analysis of the Discourse on Inequality by David James identifies Rousseau’s reason for difficulty with dependence on other humans: “it tends to generate one-sided relations of dependence which lead to the domination of one party by another party” (James, 347). When one faction begins to believe it holds a place over another, inequality has come about. Cohen also notes some of the problems with dependence among men, though his thoughts apply more comprehensively to an individual’s dependence, rather than a group’s. He writes that more settled conditions prompt one to shift his thoughts to “one 's situation relative to others, and in particular to a concern to have …show more content…
A man with excessive pride will feel more inclined to believe that he has rights to certain physical entities. One of these physical entities was property. According to Rousseau, “The first person who, having enclosed a plot of ground, thought of saying this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of society” (Rousseau, 91). The possession of land, therefore, was believed to be the first step of civilization; the first step toward a people who are wholly incapable of being equals. Alpert asserted that land ownership and equality could not coexist: “Until such colonial claims are undone there will be a deficit of both happiness and justice the world over” (Alpert, 130). His thoughts on the matter certainly seem to mirror Rousseau’s, as both men denounce such

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