A term and philosophical concept originating in French enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s 1972 treatise, The Social Contract.
In an ideal and just society, people would have equal access to resources, education, technology, etc.. However in a world with scarcity, whether inherent or artificially imposed, there is a strong incentive to satisfy wants or desires through coercion or force. Superficially, it would seem that behaving selfishly should be the optimal modus operandi—so long as it doesn’t produce too many immediate consequences. Therefore, to create an equal and just society, it is necessary that there be laws, which by definition restricts behaviour and therefore subdues absolute freedom in favour of a more collective freedom. So long as these laws do not make the state of man in a position that he is less ‘free’ then he would be in his natural state, it is reasonable for him to agree with the ‘social contract’ in the pursuit of liberty.