Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the French-Swiss philosopher, is known for his ideas on social contract theory, which argues that individuals in society willingly give up some of their individual rights in exchange for the protection and benefits of living in a community. According to Rousseau, one major advantage of the social contract is the creation of a sovereign authority that acts in the common interest of the people.
In Rousseau`s view, the social contract is an agreement between individuals to establish a government that would protect their interests and ensure their well-being. He believed that without such a social contract, humans would exist in a state of nature, where they would be constantly at war with each other, and life would be „solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.“ The social contract, therefore, is a way to overcome this state of nature and create a more peaceful and stable society.
One of the main benefits of the social contract is the creation of a sovereign authority, which is responsible for making and enforcing laws that benefit everyone in the community. According to Rousseau, this sovereign authority should be a democratic government that is elected by the people and acts in their best interests. By giving up some of their individual rights, individuals in society gain the protection and security of the government, which can ensure that their basic needs are met and that they are not subject to exploitation or oppression.
Another advantage of the social contract is the creation of a sense of unity and solidarity among individuals in society. By coming together and agreeing to live under a common set of laws and values, individuals can form a strong community that is able to tackle common problems and advance the interests of all its members. As Rousseau put it, „the general will is always in the right and tends to the public advantage.“
In conclusion, Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that the social contract was a necessary and beneficial part of human society. By giving up some individual rights in exchange for the protection and benefits of living in a community, individuals can create a more stable and peaceful society, with a democratic government that acts in the common interest of the people. The social contract also fosters a sense of unity and solidarity among individuals in society, which can lead to greater progress and prosperity for all.