What Is the Essence of the Social Contract

Many recent developments in negotiation theory and the social contract have adopted dynamic (Muldoon 2017, Vanderschraaf to come) or even evolutionary approaches to model collective bargaining (Alexander and Skyrms 1999, Skyrms 2014). This shows a general gap in negotiation patterns between what we can call axiomatic models and process models. The traditional axiomatic approach to the problem of negotiation dates back to John Nash, codified by John Harsanyi and popularized by R. Duncan Luce and Howard Raiffa (1957). Several fundamental negotiating solutions have emerged from this tradition. Each uses a slightly different set of axioms to generate a unique and generally applicable method of dividing a surplus. These are mainly the Egalitarian (Raiffa 1953), the Nash (1950), the Stabilized Nash (Moehler 2010), the Kalai-Smorodinsky (1975) and Gauthier`s Minimax Relative Concession (1986). The main point of contention between these theories is whether Nash`s independence axiom should be used or whether an axiom of monotony should be used (as the egalitarian relative concessions of Kalai-Smorodinsky and Minimax do), although to some extent all axioms have been denied. While structural factors are linked to latent tensions that constantly threaten the prosperity factor of the social contract, mobilization events also threaten the social contract in a more explosive way. Heightened (horizontal) tensions – with Russia, China, cybersecurity threats and the increase in terrorist attacks – inherently threaten the security factor of the social contract.

In particular, headline-grabbing and stressful incidents, such as the global economic crisis (2007), the ensuing euro debt crisis (2009), the migration crisis (2015) and Brexit (2016), can be hijacked by populists to mobilise the population with Eurosceptic appeals. In addition, the increase in terrorist attacks also plays a role. While there were only four deaths, two attacks and 395 arrests in the EU in 2014, these figures increased significantly in 2017, with 62 deaths, 33 attacks and 705 arrests. [46] Terrorist attacks threaten the security factor of the social contract, because if citizens feel that their security is threatened, they can rethink the usefulness of the social contract in its current form. In addition, both the global financial crisis and the euro debt crisis have had a particular impact on the social contract. The austerity measures that many European states have essentially had to take to secure bailouts at the European level have been perceived by some citizens as mandates, remote administration and openly unequal in their distribution. [47] John Locke based much of his political writings on the idea of the social contract. He emphasized the role of the individual and the idea that in a “state of nature,” people are essentially free.

When Locke spoke of the “state of nature,” he meant that people should have a natural state of independence and be free “to order their actions and dispose of their property and persons as they see fit, within the limits of natural law.” Locke argued that humans are therefore not royal subjects, but in order to guarantee their property rights, people voluntarily cede their right to a central authority to judge whether a person violates the laws of nature and must be punished. The basic idea seems simple: in a way, the agreement of all individuals subject to collectively applied social agreements shows that these agreements have normative property (they are legitimate, just, binding, etc.). But even this basic idea is anything but simple, and even this abstract reproduction is reprehensible in many ways. The traditional conceptions of the social contract of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau were fundamentally based on the idea of consent. For Locke, only the “consent of free men” could make them members of the government (Locke 1689, § 117). In the hands of these theorists – and in many ordinary discourses – the idea of “consent” implies a normative power to bind oneself. When one reaches the “age of consent”, one is allowed to enter into certain types of binding agreements – contracts. By placing consent at the center of their treatises, these modern contract theorists (1) clearly assumed that individuals had basic normative powers over themselves (e.g. B self-ownership) before concluding the social contract (a point that Hume (1748) emphasized), and (2) highlighted the question of political obligation. If the parties have the power to bind themselves by exercising this normative power, then the result of the social contract was the obligation. As Hobbes (1651, 81 [chap. xiv.,¶7] pointed out, covenants bind; they are therefore “artificial chains” (1651, 138 [chap.

xxi, ¶5]. A more empirical approach follows Schelling`s (1960) early work on haggling and game theory by examining how real people negotiate and come to an agreement. Pioneers of experimental economics used laboratory experiments to study how subjects behaved in divisional problems (Hoffman et al. 2000, Smith 2003). Some of the most interesting results, perhaps surprisingly, came from asymmetrical negotiation games such as the ultimatum game (Smith 1982). Since these first experiments, considerable experimental work has been carried out on negotiation problems and cooperation agreements in enterprises. Much of the most philosophically relevant work involves the importance of social norms and conventions in determining outcomes (Bicchieri 2016, Vanderschraaf forthcoming). .

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