Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the Theories of Adam Smith
As a renowned Genevois philosopher, I, Jean-Jacques Rousseau feel obliged to comment on the economic theories set forth by my contemporary Adam Smith in an Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. While Smith and I agree on many points, particularly in regard to the connection between economics and human behavior, there are indeed numerous instances in which our paths of thought digress.
The first of these digressions I will dicuss is Smith’s contention that man “man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them” (Smith 15). Clearly, Smith believes that self-interest is the prime motivator behind munificent actions. This is a cynical, although I will admit, realistic view, of the social and economic conditions of our time. However as I have set forth in my Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, pity and sympathy are virtues of man that transcend beyond the mere need for self-satisfaction. When Smith speculates about the innate nature of man to act only in his own benefit, I cannot help but to refer to a passage from my own Discourse. In it, I profess
Were it even true that pity is no more than a feeling, which puts us in the place of the sufferer, a feeling, obscure yet lively in a savage, developed yet feeble in civilised man; this truth would have no other consequence than to confirm my argument. Compassion must, in fact, be the stronger, the more the animal beholding any kind of distress identifies himself with the animal that suffers (Rousseau 48).
Smith and I do agree that economics has a superb capacity for providing insight into the complexities of human behavior. However, when Smith speculates about the so-called “invisible hand” and how it has guided man toward the goal of maximizing the efficiency of his resources, I cannot help but wonder if his perception of humanity is far too narrow.
In my Discourse on the Origin of Inequality I have tried to imagine the human way of life prior to the existence of the social structures and interactions, and I have come to the conclusion that men are seperated by two types of inequality, namely natural and moral. I am convinced that virtue occurs naturally in human beings, but I also acknowledge that it could be lost if people chose to follow other motivations, such as pursuit of personal interest such as property or status.
Smith has no interest in the prior human life as compared to my interest. I, through my work, try to draw the society’s imagination to the ways of life of the societies prior to the existence of a government. For Smith, the existence of government brings along certain restrictions such as trade and importation. These restrictions and sanctions take away the free will of the individuals. The laws passed by the governing authority must represent the good will of the society at large. The purpose of money, according to Smith, is to act as a medium of exchange for the many economic activities of the human race. For there to be exchange, the humans must be on good terms. The need for acquisition of luxury is developed by the existence of a monetary economy.
Smith supports his conjuectures by asserting that many of the vices in society are a product of modernity and human development. Smith, by encouraging the development of personal attributes prior to those of the society, speculates upon the basis that develops these vices. He notes that after the collapse of the Roman Empire, there was some economic stability. The former colonies had to engage in some economic activities in order to maintain their living standards. There was need to develop affluence and class in society. These situations lead to development of social vices such as jealousy and inequality. The end product of such sentiments were criminal activities. Thus Smith looks at social stratification as a mechanism that is set in place to govern the states and the order that society establishes to manage the system.
It is my contention, however, that the cultivation of virtue and morality, or a sense of duty and obligation to other members of a community, is more important for a society than the promotion of personal interest. As such, a political structure in which only one individual or a few individuals hold all the power is devoid of virtue and should therefore be avoided or abolished. This, for me, is the designation of the “social contract.”
I have pursued this notion of the social contract in my own work by the same name, and my Social Contract I inadvertently dismantled Smith’s assertions that maximum utility is not only the premier motivation of the masses, but of the government as well. Specifically, I make the case that “As nature has set bounds to the stature of a well-made man, and, outside those limits, makes nothing but giants or dwarfs, similarly, for the constitution of a State to be at its best, it is possible to fix limits that will make it neither too large for good government, nor too small for self-maintenance” (book 2, Chapter 9).
Smith’s contentions are based on the notion that an individual will always choose the route that will provide him the greatest benefit, even if that benefit is not necessarily understandable to other people. Concurrently, Smith contends that the common wealth or sovereign state has to, in its nature, satisfy the economic and social needs. The state mostly uses the taxation system to earn revenue needed to run the countries duties. There are various individuals elected by the rest of society to represent them in the management of the country’s resources. In the state of nature, there is no opportunity to enslave a similar being since the existence is of a free nature. Thus the state of nature offers more freedom to those that exist under its rule.
It is my own personal belief however, that without equality mankind will lose his inherent virtue and will compete rather than sacrifice for one another. Moreover, they will be willing to let some rule over others, which is the opposite of liberty. Thus despite what Smith may claim, practical knowledge does not contribute to virtue at all; instead it had corrupted people’s morals and virtue, because it had encouraged people to become reliant on others rather than producing all they need for themselves. I consider such a situation to be unnatural, because it inevitably leads to moral, political and economic inequality among the people. My solution and explanation is summed up in my Social Contract as follows:
The public force therefore needs an agent of its own to bind it together and set it to work under the direction of the general will, to serve as a means of communication between the State and the Sovereign, and to do for the collective person more or less what the union of soul and body does for man. Here we have what is, in the State, the basis of government, often wrongly confused with the Sovereign, whose minister it is. What then is government? An intermediate body set up between the subjects and the Sovereign, to secure their mutual correspondence, charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of liberty, both civil and political (Rousseau, 1762, book 3, Chapter 1).
It is important to note here that for me, even if the rulers are elected by the ruled, the ruled will still be living under laws they have not made, and which, therefore, will not seem natural to them. In the pursuit of economic development according to Smith, land is rented out. It is in this perspective that I claim that modernity creates a sense of inequality where by some individuals claim ownership of natural resources like land and lease them out to others. I urge that artificial needs created by human beings have made it difficult to have authenticity in human dealings.
Without question, the development of civilization has undergone numerous economic changes and advances over time. Adam Smith reflects and outlines the concept of economic and political status of the society he foresees. In particular, he looks at the societal aspects of economic development such as the division of labor, and value and cost in society. Smith believes that the division of labour has a markedly positive effect on the operations and growth of the society. On the contrary, I proclaim that the division of labour leads to a life of routine that leads the individual to apply very little creativity or effort to their work. In part two of my Discource on the Origin of Inequality, I explain through the development of the nuclear family and practice of agriculture and mining have shown that the division of labour has a linear relation to the development of social inequality.
For Smith, however, the development of a commercial and economic society leads to the existence of a social structure. This social structure is furthermore divided into three classes – the landowners, the capitalists and the laborers. This is considered by Smith to be the three great constituent that exist in every single civilized society. For him, the introduction of social structures like government and economic classes are the major causes of aggression and war.
The idea that economic progress leads to a need to develop dominance over the less privileged in terms of skills or money by the more privileged is not new. Smith, through his writings and concepts, helps to bring an understanding of the connection between economics and human behavior this insightful and illuminating on a variety of levels. However, what Smith fails to acknowledge is that human beings have choices, and those choices are not solely based on maximizing the benefits that feed their own self-interests. Virtue, compassion, benovolance and desire for freedom and equality all contribute to the workings of society in profound ways. Thus, while I agree with Adam Smith on several broad points, I cannot support his lack of attention to the less cynical perceptions of the nature of mankind.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, the Social Contract, 1762, Available http://www.constitution.org/jjr/socon.htm
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Filiquarian Publishing, LLC., 2007
Smith, Adam. 1863. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, University of Chicago Press, 1863/1977
Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?
- Plagiarism free papers
- Timely delivery
- Any deadline
- Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
- Subject-relevant academic writer
- Adherence to paper instructions
- Ability to tackle bulk assignments
- Reasonable prices
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Get superb grades consistently
Online Academic Help With Different Subjects
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
What discipline/subjects do you deal in?
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
What if I don’t like the paper?
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
- When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
- We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.
In the event that you don’t like your paper:
- The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
- We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
- Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.
Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
What if the paper is plagiarized?
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
When will I get my paper?
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!