Social Inequality

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Wealth Pages: 3 (1075 words) Published: February 1, 2013
.) Social inequality and stratification are universal phenomena. In what way or sense may they be engendered by or attributed to: a.Private ownership (Rousseau) - In the eighteenth century Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that private property creates social inequality and that this inequality ultimately leads to social conflict. Rousseau takes a more realistic approach to private property, and recognizes the vast inequalities that it creates between human beings, arguing that the acquisition of private property undermines human rights. Rousseau crafts a much more persuasive argument due to his recognition of these inequalities, and the assertion that humans are willing to enslave themselves to them in order to protect their property. Rousseau derives his views of human rights from the state of nature, where no human rights can be violated or impugned. Rousseau differs only slightly in his conception of human rights, asserting that humans are free and equal so far as their understanding of one another goes. While not all are born in possession of the same talents, this does not become evident to humans until a society is created and competition is born. This becomes a divisive point in the ultimate conclusion of whether owning property bolsters or undermines human rights. Rousseau believed that property could only properly be established after society, as law was necessary to establish and protect such an idea. This divergence in beliefs is what allows for the competing conclusions that each draws from the creation of private property. Property is acquired, as "it is impossible to conceive how property can come from anything but manual labor," but does not share the same views about the effects of private property or the time in history that it originates (Rousseau, 94). In Rousseau's theory, property can only be acknowledged once there is a state, with laws, to protect its establishment. Because man was solitary in the state of nature, there was no need to...
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