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Theories of Rawls and Rousseau

            John Rawls and Jean- Jacques Rousseau are both known for their theories regarding what would constitute an ideal state of existence, but despite many similarities in their political theories, and the clear influence that Rousseau had on Rawls's work, the utopian society proposed by Rousseau would not qualify as a just utopian society by Rawls's standards. In fact, many components of Rousseau's ideal society directly conflict with the ground rules for fairness that Rawls expresses: from discouraging individual advancement to a call for the establishment of a single political party, and a single point of view agreed on by the masses. Rousseau's utopia in many ways takes from the individual the liberties that Rawls concludes are invaluable to the establishment of a fair society. .
             John Rawls, in Justice as Fairness formulates two principles known as "the two principles of justice." He maintains that a fair society is one that conforms to the following two rules: Firstly, "each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with similar liberty for others." (Rawls) and secondly "social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both: a) reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage and b) attached to positions and offices open to all." Rousseau calling for a world without inequality, while unrealistic, does not violate Rawls's principles, it is instead in his wishes for the expression of individual rights where he violated Rawls's views on fairness. .
             Rousseau was an advocate of a type of social contract that was to be essentially used as a guide by which the establishment of a proper society was feasible. He believed that we should seek at all times a society in which we could eliminate the issue of dependence on each other while also permitting every individual to only obey himself allowing him to remain free.

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