Role of the Worker Marx

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Philosophy

Document 1

The property, in Rousseau’s view, is a social creation. The property is created simply by investing personal labor into nature. For Rousseau, the property is created by force and cunning, and the war against all breaks out when the concept of property is created (Douglass, 747). The idea of sovereign, as well, is drastically different in Rousseau’s text. The sovereign is chosen by the people and enters into a social contract with them; the sovereign represents and protects the people, and the people obey the sovereign and have the right to revolt if the sovereign does not fulfill their protective role. According to Rousseau, the sovereign power rests in the people. Rousseau’s government is much more democratic, with each person allowed an equal say in the creation and modification of the fundamental laws of the state (Douglass, 747). However, whereas the sovereign in Marx’s society must protect the life of its citizens since life is a natural right of all human beings, the sovereign in Rousseau’s society has the power to command its citizens to sacrifice themselves to protect the state. Rousseau’s reasoning is that the life of a human, one s/he becomes a part of a society, is no longer provided by nature. Since the life of a citizen is protected by the state, it is within the state’s rights to require its citizens to risk their lives. Another issue on which Marx and Rousseau differ dramatically is the state of inequality. Marx explains the creation of money as a value system established by the consent of society.

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The ability to accumulate value, as opposed to accumulating goods, creates the ability for some citizens to become grossly wealthy, while others remain destitute (Douglass, 747). This system is agreed upon by society because, although there exists a huge gap of unequal wealth between the rich and the poor, the poor are still better off than they would be if the wealth were spread equally among all members of society. For Rousseau, the domination of the rich over the poor is an unjust social contract. He asks that society “tolerate rich men, nor beggars. Both are equally fatal to the common good” (Douglass, 747). The establishment of property binds the poor in fetters of servitude to the status quo created by the rich and powerful. Any inequality arising in society should not be based on market value; rather, it should be based on concrete differences in the contributions made to the good of the society.

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In this way, inequality is measured by magistrates rather than by the market. Thus, a private interest can gain support by making their views popular with commonly accessed sources such as popular media outlets (Eichhorst, 40). Conversely, smaller groups that should have laws passed based on fundamental rights could be drowned out by a majority that does not concur upon the necessity of such laws being passed for these minorities. This is the situation in many states today grappling with the issue of equal rights for homosexuals. It is interesting that a system based upon equality should find a way to foster inequality in this way. When considering the economics of society, Rousseau prefers economic self-sufficiency. The workers who take part in the division of labor, like the poor in Rousseau’s view of the unequal distribution of wealth, are in fetters.

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The inequality here is in the control of power. The few rich and powerful of society alienate the laborers from their labor. The laborers do not have a say in what products are created; they cannot control how products are created, they do not decide how they will work, and, through competition, they are alienated from each other. Thus, the capitalist system is alienating. Unalienated labor is not dominated by the value the laborers produce. Instead, the laborers have a say in what is produced, how products are produced, and how they are distributed. In this way, labor becomes democratic. He also maintains that education should be free, and the church should not be involved in the creation of state laws. To create unalienated labor, Marx attempts to reach human emancipation.

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Thus, the people living under Communism are allowed to be more creative than they can under Capitalism. Marx stipulates that politicians should be paid a normal working wage so that they do not become corrupt. However, he does not advocate paying every person in the society the same flat wage; he acknowledges that there must be incentives to provide motivation. Thus, under Communism, society is fairer and more flexible. Both Rousseau and Marx make progressive leaps from the system of government conveyed by Locke.

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