Discourse on the Origin of Inequality is a philosophical work first published in 1755. In his Discourse, Rousseau exposes his conception of a human state of nature, broadly believed to be a hypothetical thought exercise, and of human perfectibility, an early idea of progress. He explains the way in which, in his view, people may have established civil society, which leads him to conclude that private property is the original source and basis of all inequality.
The text was written in 1754 in response to a prize competition of the Academy of Dijon answering the prompt "What is the origin of inequality among people, and is it authorized by natural law?" Rousseau did not win with his treatise but published the work the following year. The work is dedicated to the state of Geneva, Rousseau's birthplace, which he praises as a good, if not perfect, republic.
This cloth-bound book includes a Victorian inspired dust-jacket, and is limited to 100 copies.