Reinforcement of Inequality
According to Rousseau, how does our social development lead to the reinforcement of inequality? Just need a 250-word response to the article. Rousseau says the following in his Discourse on Inequality: Behold, then, all our faculties trained, our memory and imagination in play, our pride engaged, our reason activated, and our minds as near-perfect as possible. Behold all the natural characteristics called into action, every man’s rank and fate settled, not only as to the number of his possessions and power to help or to harm but also as to his intelligence, good looks, strength or skill, merit or abilities; and because only these traits could elicit esteem, it soon became necessary to have them or purport to have them. It was soon to one’s advantage to be other than one actually was. Being and appearing became two quite different things, and from this distinction emerged striking ostentation, deceitful cunning, and all the vices that follow in their wake. From another point of view, behold man, once free and independent, now subject, so to speak, through a multitude of new needs, to all of nature and above all to his fellow men, whose slave he has in a sense become, even when he becomes their master. … Finally, in all men, a consuming ambition, the burning passion to increase one’s relative fortune, less out of real need than to make oneself superior to others, inspires a dark propensity to harm each other, secret jealousy that is all the more dangerous because, to strike out from a more secure position, it often assumes the mask of benevolence; in short, we have competition and rivalry on the one hand, and antagonistic interests on the other, and always the hidden desire to gain some advantage at other people’s expense. All these evils are the first effects of property and the inseparable escort of nascent inequality. (65-66)
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