LinkedIn emplea cookies para mejorar la funcionalidad y el rendimiento de nuestro sitio web, así como para ofrecer publicidad relevante. Si continúas navegando por ese sitio web, aceptas el uso de cookies. Consulta nuestras Condiciones de uso y nuestra Política de privacidad para más información.
LinkedIn emplea cookies para mejorar la funcionalidad y el rendimiento de nuestro sitio web, así como para ofrecer publicidad relevante. Si continúas navegando por ese sitio web, aceptas el uso de cookies. Consulta nuestra Política de privacidad y nuestras Condiciones de uso para más información.
Question # 1: What is the history of the Social Contract?
Question # 2: What Social Contract changes do we need?
Question # 1
What is the history of
the Social Contract?
The Social Contract begins with the most oft-quoted line from Jean-Jacques
Rousseau: “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains.”
The problem that The Social Contract seeks to address is this: How can we be
free and live together? We can do so, Rousseau maintains, by
submitting our individual, particular wills to the collective or
general will, created through agreement with other free and
Theories of the social contract differed according to their purpose:
1. Some were designed to justify the power of the Sovereign.
2. Others were intended to safeguard the individual from
oppression by an all-too-powerful Sovereign.
According to Thomas Hobbes, the justification for political obligation is
this: Given that men are naturally self-interested, yet
they are rational, they will choose to submit to the
authority of a Sovereign in order to be able to live in a
civil society, which is conducive to their own interests.
According to John Rawls, each person in a society is to have as much
basic liberty as possible - as long as everyone is granted the
Also, economic inequalities are only justified, John Rawls argues, when
the least advantaged member of society is better off
than she would be under alternative arrangements.
Denis Diderot was the editor of the Encyclopedia, the first
systematic, collective enterprise designed to organise all our
knowledge of the sciences, arts and technology in
a format accessible to the “educated everyman”.
According to the general social contract model, political authority is
grounded in an agreement among individuals, each of whom aims in
this agreement to advance his rational self-interest by
establishing a common political authority over all.
Thus, according to the general social contract model, political authority
is grounded not in conquest, natural or divinely instituted hierarchy, or
in obscure myths and traditions, but rather in the rational consent of
5 reasons that laws are required in society
1. The harm principle: To prevent the serious physical assault against others that
would be victimized.
2. The offence principle: To prevent behaviour that would offend those who might
otherwise be victimized.
3. Legal paternalism: To prevent harm against everyone in general with
4. Legal moralism: To prevent immoral activities such as prostitution and gambling.
5. Benefit to others: To prevent actions that are detrimental to a segment of the
Thomas Hobbes championed absolutism for the
sovereign but he believed in the right of the individual and
the equality of all men.
John Locke promoted the opposite type of government, which was
a representative government.
Baron de Montesquieu developed the work of Locke and espoused
the concept of the separation of power by creating divisions in
Jean-Jacques Rousseau argues that direct democracy, which
openly signifies the will of the population, is the only
form of government in which human freedom can be
The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine drew
extensively on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notions of the social
contract. Paine reserved particular criticism for the hereditary
privileges of ruling elites, whose power over the people,
he believed, was only supported through simple
historical tradition and the passive acceptance of
the social order among the common people.
The social contract between the Singaporean government and
Singaporeans is based on the delivery of social public goods (“justice
and equality”) and economic public goods (“prosperity and progress
for our nation”).
In the area of drinking water, every Singaporean household
has access to potable water that can be drunk directly from
Question # 2
What Social Contract
changes do we need?
As the world seeks to address the rise of populism and nationalism, it is becoming clear that
economic insecurity lies at the heart of much of the discontent. In
the wake of the global financial crisis, voters in wealthy countries began to lose faith in the
state’s ability to protect them. The profound changes sweeping labour markets, caused by
the rise of technology and continued globalization, have only deepened this anxiety.
Whether through universal basic income, better targeting of existing
safety nets, more investment in education and health, or a
combination of all these policies, each society will need to find an answer that
works for its unique characteristics. That same principle applies to the vexed issue of how to
pay for social protection. Ultimately, it comes down to political choice. In this age of
insecurity, we should act now to strengthen the bonds that unite us.
Social benefits should no longer be linked to a specific job.
Social benefits should be available to individuals
regardless of their employment status.
Digitization is enabling unpredictable transformations in work. One result of
this is that the relationship between employers and employees has
fundamentally changed, and so too have the responsibilities borne by
While a future social contract may not be able to credibly
promise job security, it should be able to guarantee social
and economic security. That is, the financial security (paychecks),
and social security (protections) that were previously provided by full-time
jobs, must now be provided through alternative means.
Internet access and use are becoming essential for exercising one’s full
citizenship, as public goods and services are gradually being provided
online; and also for income generation, as opportunities too are
gradually requiring some level of digital fluency.
The public and private sectors must therefore ensure
the universalization of access to the internet and
ensure quality, security and affordability. The provision of
access to the Internet should be seen as a public good, which can be
provided in co-operation with the private sector.