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This essay seeks to explore wealth the concept of wealth at its distribution in both the modern and ancient period. The essay will also evaluate inequality and in this case unequal distribution of resources and its causes by attempting to address the following questions which are classified with reference to Adam Smith and Rousseau’s their writings “The wealth of the nations” and “The origin of inequality” respectively. The questions to be addressed include:
Smith part one
1) Where does one find the greatest division of labor, rural or urban areas? Why?
2) What are the different effects of the DOL for the individual and the Society?
3) Is the DOL natural According To Smith? Explain.
4) ATS, how does acting purely out of self-interest produce better social results?
5) According To Smith, are inequalities natural? Explain.
6) What is the contribution of markets to a nation’s wealth?
7) Regionally where do we find the most wealth? Why?
Smith part two
1) Until section 1.6.7, how is the wage of the owner of the stock and the laborer determined, According To Smith?
2) What is Smith’s attitude toward the ‘landlords’? Why so?
3) From 188.8.131.52, Smith’s explanation of how wages are determined looks somewhat different from how he describes the process earlier. What now explains why laborers are receiving the wages they do in markets? Does Smith see this as acceptable or not?
Rousseau part 1
1) According to Rousseau (ATR), there are two different kinds of inequality. Which is more important?
2) How does he challenge the common belief that progress and inequality are ‘natural’?
3) What are key differences, ATR, between humans in their earliest natural state and modern (social) humans?
4) Are humans naturally social According To Rousseau? What makes humans social?
5) How do societies come to emerge, develop?
Rousseau Part 2
1) Is private property desirable, according To Rousseau?
2) What’s the link between linguistic development and social development?
3) Why are governments and laws formed? What is Rousseau’s assessment of the consequences?
4) Why did the poor accept the rule of lords, emperors, princes…?
5) Governance is described by Rousseau as a ‘social contract’ between governors and governed. What kind of social contract is he seeking?
6) How shall that social contract be attained?
The wealth of the nations
According to Adam Smith division of labor is greatest areas with manufacturing firms where many processing units exist. It is important to note that though manufacturing industries tend to be concentrated more in urban areas (Smith part one page 1). Thus as Rousseau asserts that division of labor is proportional to the number of manufacturing firms and the many processing levels in the firms which is proof enough that these firms are more in urban areas. The most important aspect of division of labor is that it allows an individual to specialize in one section thus enhancing his performance which impacts positive on the overall production. It also reduces the amount of work done by individual does thus reducing fatigues. It also increases chances of innovation due to concentration to one unit (Smith part one pages 3). Moreover, Smith asserts that division of labor is vital in improving the out put and that takes place with reference to expertise leading to innovations therefore it is natural because different individuals have different talents (Smith part one pages 3-7).
According to Smith the nature of man naturally compels him to resist any external factors that push him to perform an activity. He therefore believes that division of labor is as a result of gradual changes and processes thus natural because its rises from the need to satisfaction (Smith part one pages 9). When man acts purely out of self interest there are higher chances that better social results because this tends to facilitate innovation to improve ones performance (Smith part one pages 6). Man is a social being and when he acts without pressure his actions will reveal his humane nature. Smith reveals that may be natural however inequalities source from man’s habits and the education acquired later in life (Smith part one pages 11-13). The size of the market dictates the extent of investment and specialization and exchange of different products. Market forces of demand and supply are the controllers of the economy therefore they determine growth trends because it takes the efforts of many stakeholders to bring a commodity to the market (Smith part one page 13). On the other hand the distribution of wealth is even however some regions where industrialization begun such as Europe among other have managed to accumulate great wealth which also revolves around agriculture (Smith part one pages 15-16).
According to Smith the wages of the stock owner and that of the laborer are determined by a number of factors. The factor revolves around amount of labor and the risks involved. Therefore laborer owns the produce and the wages of the laborer are proportional to the amount of labor. On the other hand the wages of the stock owner is determined by the profit of stock revolving around the labor of direction and inspection which determine the price of a commodity (Smith part two pages 1-3). According to Smith landlords are exploitative they get returns that they do not deserve the rent and at times proceedings (Smith part two pages 2). The stock owner’s wages include the profit from the stock and proceedings from the laborers. On the other hand the wages of the laborer are far much reduced because he does not own the product however, he share it with the stock owner. Laborers now receive peanuts because the master stock may not manage to meet is production cost. They cannot join forces to demand for better pay due to lack of competition among the masters and the law does not provide guidelines (Smith part two pages 4-5).
Origin of inequality
According to Rousseau there are two different kinds of inequalities in “The origin of inequality” namely physical inequality and political inequality (8/31) (Rousseau part 1 page 1). Physical inequality occurs naturally owing to certain differences in age, might and intelligence levels. On the other hand political inequality largely depends on the consent of man it occurs as a result of men acceptance however both inequalities have the same weight since none of the inequality is justifiable even though political inequality draws more preference. Rousseau’s view on the belief and argument that progress and inequality are natural is centered around great effort to identify the actual time violence came to and end, the time when the might accepted to serve others and the time when man lead life in simplicity (Rousseau part 1 page 2&3). He believes that nature has its ways to maintain balance.
He asserts that physical/natural inequality is derived from the word’s meaning and at the same time the possibility that there are some human beings who are better that others could only be proved by searching for the truth about nature and laws; he believes that inequality area based on individual choices he points out that his approach does not comprise of the truth but rather hypothetical analysis and that man is the cause of his miseries because deviating from nature (Rousseau part 1 page 2-3 &7) and to him God is powerful because he chose to be powerful.
According to Rousseau the distinct difference between humans in their earliest natural state and modern social man is that the earliest forms were better of without modern facilities that threat mans existence (Rousseau part 1 page 4). Even though he asserts that with technology modern man is strengthened in asserting his authority over other creatures he also proves that even the savages had ways of solving their problems without necessarily threatening their existence. Both the social and the ancient man are subject to aggressive instincts which are innate. The ancient man walked on four with and derived Medicare from his environment and just like the modern man both succumb to old age, disease among other and they are driven by their wants even though modern has more pronounced wants unlike his predecessor whose needs were present and physical he had no worries about the future (Rousseau part 1 page 4). In addition, modern man differs from his ancestor in the sense that he destroys life even before birth (Rousseau part 1 page 5). Furthermore, modern man is powerless without his inventions and tools.
The author argues that human beings are social in nature and this is derived from the fact that human beings have the ability to tame wild animal and tend to them (Rousseau part 1 page 8). In addition man has the freedom to make choices unlike other animal whose choices are dictated by nature (Rousseau part 1 page 10-11). Man show extra ordinary care for their young ones to the extent of taking extreme measures incase of any danger. In addition even though man is driven by his wants Rousseau asserts he is weak and this means that he needs company to enhance his strength. Moreover, compassion helped man in becoming social thus preservation (Rousseau part 1 page 24-25). Unlike other creature capable of attacking their like’s young ones and killing them, man shows sympathy, compassion and concern in such instances. According to Rousseau man might have lived individually because he was not that different form other animals and he argues that many researchers have attempted to explain the origin of societies and most of them refer to the state of nature. However, his mental faculties were and still are more advanced and this facilitated his survival. Rousseau asserts that it is difficult to establish how societies came to be however he links the emergence of societies to the development of language (Rousseau part 1 page 16-18). Therefore it is important to evaluate the development of language and it is believed to have stated in a primitive form where sounds and gestures were dominant. This created harmony by facilitating communication pulling individuals together and making man a social being.
According to Rousseau land which makes up the most important property belongs to nobody however the proceedings belong to the entire human race (Rousseau part 2 page1). He argues that man enjoyed the fruits of the earth in the state of nature however the urge to satisfy his need such as hunger prompted some changes (Rousseau part 2 page2). With time his brain developed and he could now view issues from a different angle this was the beginning of possessiveness and it created conflicts therefore is undesirable because it brings conflicts (Rousseau part 2 page 4). Linguistic involves the scientific study of language development thus in this case Rousseau narrates how human beings developed adopted language. He argues that environmental changes and drifts isolated (in islands) some families which later formed societies with a unique mode of communication (Rousseau part 2 page 5-6). Thus as man attempted to satisfy his needs there was need to develop some form of communication. Initially the methods were primitive as they were meant to enhance hunting and mother child relationship basically the minor aspect. Such advances, the desire to have control and uniformity of life are believed to have been the source of societal development because they attempted to socialize man and began leading a more settled life and where specialization was inevitable.
Rousseau’s view on government hold that it began when man realized that public esteem could draw attention (Rousseau part 2 pages 6) He argues that the development of government brought both misfortunes turning man into slavery aggravating the need for security and positive effect when laws gave the norm. He mentions the efforts of the ruling class creating misery and offering to help the weak and the poor (Rousseau part 2 pages 13-15 &20). However, he also assert that man is born free but he is always in chains which means that after entrusting power into the hands of a few there were changes that brought about lamentations. The leaders tricked the society and became more powerful to the extent of misusing power (Rousseau part 2 page14). And the poor and those who did not own property became savages and had to depend on the rulers and those who had amassed wealth in order to survive and have security nature were taking course (Rousseau part 2 page12). According to Rousseau human beings have the right to free will but in the process of exercising they allowed/empowered a few individuals (the government) to exercise control over them on their behalf. However, they became subjects to the few individuals due to political inequality. This is the government and the contract in question is the one where the rulers serve the people and could only be realized when the governed become aware of their rights and rise against the rich who constitute the ruling class.
In conclusion we find that human beings have developed with time from the primitive beings to rational man. In the primitive stages man interest were centered around ones self and conflicts were common however, changes began and government emerged. Man developed speech and became more and social. On the other hand man values wealth and he would wish to poses as much as possible however nature dictates otherwise. To accumulate wealth production is inevitable and as well as division of labor. Property ownership has lead to the emergence of varied theories attempting to justify private ownership and exploitation however, more research into the area could changes man’s perception.