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November 07, 2012

A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences (1750)

Sovereigns always see with pleasure a taste for the arts of amusement and superfluity, which do not result in the exportation of bullion, increase among their subjects. They very well know that, besides nourishing that littleness of mind which is proper to slavery, the increase of artificial wants only binds so many more chains upon the people. Alexander, wishing to keep the Ichthyophages in a state of dependence, compelled them to give up fishing, and subsist on the customary food of civilised nations. The American savages, who go naked, and live entirely on the products of the chase, have been always impossible to subdue. What yoke, indeed, can be imposed on men who stand in need of nothing?

- Jean Jacques Rousseau. A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences - The First Part, Note 1

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 7, 2012 06:28 AM