The Notion That Individuals Are Bound By An Agreement To Form Society

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, lived and wrote during arguably the most exhilarating period in the intellectual history of modern France – the Enlightenment. He was one of the shining lights of this intellectual movement, contributed articles on Diderot`s encyclopedia and participated in the Paris Salons, where the great intellectual questions of his time were followed. Like the other social thinkers discussed here, Max Weber (1864-1920) looked at the important changes that are taking place in Western society with the advent of capitalism. Like Marx and Durkheim, he feared that capitalist industrialization would have a negative impact on the individual. The level at which the purpose of the contract is described may influence the outcome of the agreement. „A striking feature of The Hobbes View,“ says Hardin, „is that it is a relative assessment of the entire states. Living in a form of government against life under anarchy“ (2003, 43). Hobbes could plausibly say that everyone would approve of the social contract, because „life under government“ is better from the point of view of all than „life under anarchy“ (the starting condition). However, if a Hobbesian tried to divide the contract into, say, more precise agreements on the various functions of government, she is inclined to find that an agreement would not be reached in many functions. As we „zoom in“ (Lister, 2010) on more government fine-grain functions, the contract is likely to become more limited. If the parties simply ask themselves whether government is better than anarchy, they will choose almost all governments (including, say, a government that funds the arts); if they are wondering if they want a government that funds the arts or a government that does not, it is easy to see how they cannot agree on the first one. Similarly, when the parties reflect on whole moral codes, there may be a broad consensus that all moral codes as a whole are in the interests of all; If we „expand“ certain rights and duties, we are inclined to get a very different answer.

For Weber, the culmination of industrialization and rationalization leads to what he called an iron cage, in which the individual is trapped by efficiency systems designed to improve the well-being of humanity. It is a cage, or literally, of the original German steel case, in which we are wrapped, because effective rational forms of organization have become indispensable. Even if there was a social revolution as Marx imagined it, the bureaucratic and rational structures of the organization would be maintained. It seems that there is no alternative. The modern economic order „is today linked to the technical and economic conditions of the production of machines that today determine the lives of all those born in this mechanism, and not just those who struggle directly with economic acquisition, with irresistible force“ (Weber 1904). The main approach to the negotiation process stems from the influential work of Rubinstein (1982) and his evidence that it can be shown that, in some cases, a process of alternating supply negotiation will produce the same result as Nash`s axiomatic solution. This result gave life to Nash (1950) the early observation that negotiations and rules of negotiations must be the result of an uncooperative game, with the idea that it might be possible to unify negotiation theory and game theory.