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> The Initial Contract
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The philosophical question Rousseau asks is: Why and which obligations rational, free individuals could trade off and which benefits they receive in return from accepting the contract and thus owe obligations (to government)?

We will not discuss here whether or not the state of nature could be preferable. Instead we start from the premise that contracts are the rules of business. We accept "formally/evidentially enabling business" (by basing contracts on prior contracts all the way down ↗The Origin Of The Idea) as a desirable benefit from accepting the initial contract.

The state of nature in technical terms is comparable to an insulated computer running somewhere. While the human case is hypothetical because humans can't exist in isolation, the hypothesis in the technical case is about the question who build the machine and where does the power come from. Questions people rarely ask when using computers.

The state of nature is seen as not too bad after all. It is assumed as initial state and easy to return to (pull the network plug to feel safe).

However we realize that the single computer is all too fallible. It's a physical thing and those break. Worse: the token is controlled by some person(s) (administrator). Therefore confidence into a computer can not exceed confidence in these persons. We trust no trusted third party as much as our self. Hence the token must be owned and controlled by just one person.

Rousseau introduces the general will as the concept to keep an idea of rights and obligations "straight" in the society beyond the fallibility of the person. (We don't trust even our-self under torture. And we don't trust our self that we fully verified that our computer has no backdoor for intruders or viruses to exploit.)