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Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men (Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes) is a book by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.Rousseau discusses two types of inequality, natural or physical and moral or political. Natural inequality involves differences between one man's strength or intelligence and that of another - it is a product of nature. Rousseau is not concerned with this type of inequality and wishes to investigate moral inequality. He argues this inequality is endemic to a civil society and relates and causes differences in power and wealth. This type of inequality is established by convention. Rousseau appears to take a cynical view of civil society, and refers to times before the current state of civil society, when man was closer to his natural state, as happier times for man. To Rousseau, civil society is a trick perpetrated by the powerful on the weak in order to maintain their power or wealth. But this is Rousseau's end product. He begins his discussion with an analysis of a natural man who has not yet acquired language or abstract thought. Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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