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Single Idea 19800

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 3. Social Equality / a. Grounds of equality]

Full Idea

Instead of destroying natural equality, the fundamental compact substitutes a moral and legitimate equality to any natural physical inequality. that men all become equal by convention and by right.

Gist of Idea

The social compact imposes conventional equality of rights on people who may start unequally


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], I.9)

A Reaction

This does not pretend that equality is a natural right. The imposition of equality is virtually the main point of forming a state. Effectively, the state operates like an insurance company, treating all contributors as equal.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.153

Related Idea

Idea 18639 If we assess what people would buy in an imaginary insurance market, our taxes could copy it [Dworkin, by Kymlicka]