This book examines Rousseau?s ideas about the natural transparency of human intention, the loss of this transparency in the opaque cities of Europe, and the possibility of its restoration within small republican communities. The author weaves together Rousseau?s provocative conjectures about transparency and opaqueness to provide an original interpretation of Rousseau?s political thought and its bearing on several contemporary controversies. He also argues that civic cooperation in Rousseau?s model republic requires mutual surveillance; that Hobbes?s argument for a sovereign state assumes the natural opacity of human intention; and that Adam Smith?s ?invisible hand? cannot efficiently coordinate the self-interested choices of opaque traders.

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