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The social, political, and economic structure of the society has changed. Likewise, the political and economic system has also transformed with the passage of time. Today, in the twenty first century, we live with mutually changed political, social, and economic systems. We now reside in a democratic world with a capitalist economic system. However, these issues have already been elucidated by the great political theorists like Hobbes, Rousseau, and Adam Smith.
The new political and economic system
Hobbes believed that there was a state of nature and there were also rights of nature. Moreover, there were laws of nature and contracts, which bound people together. The main purpose of natural right is to get a social contract. The result consists in the achievement of complete power of the state, which is its sovereignty. Accordingly, it is above all. This power comes from the justice system that the state keeps intact. This sovereignty is derived by the head of the state. Then, all property also belongs to the state. People are required to pay taxes. He also supposed that the taxes should be progressive.
Locke also created the labor theory of property. According to his concept, the property came to people who labored for it. Then, property is yielded by labor. The government stands to protect this property. On the other hand, Rousseau believed that there was no justice when there was social inequality. He loathed the rigid social hierarchy and absolute monarchy that existed in then France. Accordingly, he proposed the idea of general will in order for people to contract with each other and work for the good of the state and common good rather than individual benefit. In that case, this general will can provide justice and fairness. Law might also aim at establishment of equality. He believed that law is the sovereign power that keeps people together. This general will has all the virtues and provides happiness to the masses.
Jeremy Bentham was another political thinker. He gave his idea of penal reform which was the Panopticon. He also believed that human nature was malleable. Accordingly, there was need for constant surveillance and no punishment. He also believed that there was poor law reform. Finally, he believed in utilitarianism which advocates the greatest good for the greatest number.
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Adam Smith, on the other hand, thought that the mercantilist economy was not good. In such economy, the merchants cooperated with the state. This was inefficient and unjust. He assumed that the markets should be allowed to operate freely. He further believed in the division of labor and its consequent specialization. This was necessary for efficiency, productivity, and betterment of the economy. The wages would rise and so would profits. The supply and demand in the market should be the driving forces. The free market was supposed to be the key to success as it resulted in the benefit of its consumers.
It is clear that the modern state evolved from the previous political and economic systems, which were not refined. These systems were fine-tuned by political thinkers. The concept of the state sovereignty was introduced. The supremacy of law was underscored and the common will was identified. The notion of property was that it belonged to individuals, came through their fruits of labor, and was also protected by the state. The economic system was better without too much state intervention. The state connived with merchants, which was counterproductive. The free economy was the best financial system that worked within the market forces. The productivity of labor came through its specialization while the market forces covered all participants in the economy. Finally, the social rigid structures and the rule of monarchy were not good and lacked all virtues of modern democracies.
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