What is an agreement or contract made among a group of people?
An agreement or contract made among a group of people is called a social contract. Social contracts have existed throughout time. A social contract does not necessarily have to be written. It can be implied and understood between the parties involved.
One notable thinker of the Age of Enlightenment was Thomas Hobbes. He believed that peopled needed governments to impose order and that people in a society should agree to give up some freedoms to a stronger power in exchange for peace and safety. Hobbes called this exchange between society and government the social contract. The Magna Carta (1215) is one of the earliest social and political contracts.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that government should work for the benefit of the common good, not just for the wealthy.
What then is government? It is an intermediary body established between the subjects and the sovereign . . .
—Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1763
An agreement or contract made by a group of people may also be referred to as a group contract. A group contract is an agreement entered by members of a group to unify them and provide a specific framework to guide their interaction. Such an agreement may be written or agreed upon orally. A group contract outlines the norms which each member is required to observe. It also provides procedures for enforcement if the situation demands it. A group contract will also provide procedures to deal with both internal and external conflicts and stalemates. In the event of such situations, some of the procedures may include a vote by a designated individual to break the tie, arbitration, among other provisions. A group contract would also outline the roles and responsibilities of each member.