1. About sixty years after Locke, who wrote in the 17th century, we have Rousseau.  Rousseau envisages humankind as starting in a “state of nature”, where they are basically like other animals, but smarter. Moreover humans start solitary (there, Rousseau is just wrong: like bees, we're social animals).  As human beings develop, however, bad things start to happen.  Thus, after human beings figure out how to make tools to make their lives easier, they become dependent on them.  And being dependent on the tools, their lives become unpleasant should the instruments become unavailable.  Moreover, after a while, the pleasure of having tools abates, and we have the state of affairs that having tools is neutral—not pleasant and not unpleasant—while losing them is unpleasant.  This is not a good state of affairs.

o        On the other hand, maybe the reason the competitive emotions arise is that in this state of society, one is competing with other people to provide commodities.  Thus, the products that one is oneself producing do not merely need to be good, but they need to be better than those of others.  Thus, it makes sense to strive to do better than others.  And it makes sense to feel bad if one doesn't, since that impels one to do better.

o        I don't think this response is sufficient to defend Rousseau.  We need to distinguish two kinds of ambition (1) to be better off than others, and (2) to produce better products or provide better services than others do.  It is type (1) ambition that seems to be the most vicious sort.  But type (1) ambition is not an inevitable result of the kind of "selfish" free-market system that Rousseau criticizes.  Why?  Because one is not competing with others in happiness, but in providing products and services.  Similarly, a jealousy of people who are better off than one is does not seem an inevitable result.  Now a type (2) ambition might well be a result of a competitive system of production.  But a type (2) ambition seems significantly more innocent than a type (1) ambition.  Likewise, a type (2) jealousy, i.e., a jealousy of the better workmanship of others, seems more innocent than a type (1) jealousy, i.e., a jealousy of someone's good fortune.  Moreover, as the ideal of sportsmanship illustrates, it is possible to have type (2) competition--competition at trying to do better than others--while remaining respectful of others, etc.  Nonetheless, as the practice of sports illustrates, the ideal is hard to attain.

2. There are two relevant claims in Rousseau.  The first is that it is quite natural and good for human beings to exist without private property—they did so for quite a while.  The second is that inequality is bad.

And then there is the Social Contract, which we did not discuss, since I was just trying to get some ideas relevant to an opposition with Aquinas and Locke.