Of Capitalism In The Discourse Of Jean-Jacques Rousseau And Karl Marx

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Both Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx share the political and economical ideology that private property separates society into classes, and creates oppression. However, the two view property in different regards. Rousseau views property in a more political view, while Marx focuses more on the economic sphere of property and society. This paper will first state Rousseau and his critique of property, inequality, and the emergence of society found in The Discourses. Then, it will contrast the political critique of Rousseau with that of Karl Marx’s economic critique regarding property, and include other critical parts of Marx’s work including the Jewish Question and the Communist Manifesto.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau addresses freedom more than any other political problem in The Discourses. His view regarding the state of nature heavily contrasts with that of Hobbes, and believes that in the state of nature, man experiences total freedom. It is a hypothetical place where human beings live uncorrupted by society. Man is not physically constrained by a repressive state or dominated by anyone,
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Legitimate authority comes only from a social contract agreed by all the citizens, a way to legitimatize the chain. The collective grouping of these citizens is the “sovereign”, and it should be considered to be an individual person. Each person individually has their own particular will which aims for their own best interests, but the sovereign expresses the general will meant for the common good. The sovereign only has authority over things which concern the public good, and with this, their authority is absolute. The general will is explained through the general laws of the state, made by an impartial non-citizen lawmaker. All of these laws must ensure liberty and equality. The sovereign exercises legislative power, but a government is needed to exercise executive

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