In my previous post I claimed that the topic of the second part of the "Discourse" was the emergence of society from the state of nature. Re-reading it, however, I find Rousseau to be decidedly vague on the emergence of society. It has something to do with the geographical spread of the race, the development of technologies, and the emergence of property. If you can reconstruct a succinct argument, please do share. The real focus of this section, as I now see it, is the transformative effects of civilization on "savage man."
As with Hobbes and Locke, property takes center-stage in Rousseau's treatment. It affords him this opening: "The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say 'this is mine' and found people simply enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society" (302). So his attitude toward this development--property as a sort of ruse on the simple-minded--we can see, is markedly different than his predecessors'. A bit later he writes, "in short, competition and rivalry on the one hand, opposition of interest[s] on the other, and always the hidden desire to profit at the expense of someone else[:... a]ll these ills are the first effect of property and inseparable offshoot of incipient inequality" (309). So what Hobbes, certainly, and Locke to a lesser extent, invoke society to remedy, Rousseau accuses it of introducing.
Society introduces the vice of inauthenticity. People become unduly interested in public esteem (305). How we appear to others becomes crucial to our own self-assessment, and this leads to vanity, contempt, envy, and shame. Furthermore, provided with leisure time, people develop a taste for new "conveniences," so that "being deprived of them became much more cruel than possessing them was sweet, and they were unhappy about losing them without being happy about possessing them" (305)--a criticism of consumer culture as relevant as ever today.
So there are two issues on the table: why do some people claim property, and why do others accept their claims? As Rousseau would have it, the poor are essentially duped by the wealthy. The poor lack resources to protect what little they possess, and so they readily agree to property regulations proposed by the rich, effectively legitimizing inequitable distribution (310). Hence the natural inequality that allows some men to work more efficiently than others is transformed into political inequality. And this is passed along through generations via inheritance so that this inequity becomes disassociated even from one's natural productive capacities.
This summary might not be comprehensive, but I hope I've hit the main points. Looking forward to your treatment of the "Social Compact"--