The role of public opinion in Rousseau's conception of property
For many readers, Rousseau's views on property represent the most ambiguous and contradictory aspect of an already undeveloped economic theory. In this paper, I re-examine this popular criticism from the standpoint of the philosopher's well-known critique of public opinion to argue that property is a more consistent and systematically articulated concept in Rousseau's writings than may appear. I argue that opinion, rather than private property, poses the greatest danger to self-made law and that the narrowness and peculiarity of its political threat demonstrates Rousseau's restrictions against private wealth to be less comprehensive than many believe.
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