Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) is considered today to be one of the major political thinkers of modern times along with Hobbes, Locke, Hegel and Rawls. The Social Contract is still held as one of the main foundations of democracy. His political philosophy is built around the ideas of individual liberty and social and political equality. Interpretations of his thought, however, differ widely, and it is not uncommon to see Rousseau being simultaneously acclaimed (or lambasted) by liberal, totalitarian, capitalist and socialist thinkers. It is true that Rousseau’s writings can easily support completely opposed readings. The philosopher of Geneva indeed lacks terminologist rigor and may seem inconsistent from one writing to another. Generations of readers have thus been puzzled by the relationship between Julie, or the New Heloise and the Social Contract, or between his Discourse on Political Economy and Emile. Among these apparent contradictions is the question of economic and social inequalities in civil society. In this chapter I suggest that inequalities are not for Rousseau a priority as such and that the ultimate aim of his system is actually not political. Contrary to traditional representations of his work, I will endeavour to demonstrate that the form of political constitution is only relevant so far as it relates to the basic and overarching question of individual happiness. In the first section I show that, for Rousseau, it is illusory to believe that in modern societies man can find happiness by pursuing the common good. In the second section, I present what Rousseau considers as the basis of happiness in modern societies. In the final section I discuss its political implications.