The Influence Of John Lockes Stance On Property

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The Influence Of John Lockes Stance On Property



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How John Locke Derives Property Rights

Locke believes that initially, the state of nature was characterized by human kind tolerance and reason towards property acquisition and ownership. Under this state of nature, no individual could harm another individual in terms of possession of natural resources. Locke holds the view that there existed a social contract between nature and the state. In protecting its people, the state was guided by the law of nature. Locke contribution is also manifested in his theoretical contribution in the two Treatises of Government where Locke describes the state of nature as a state of war of man against man. Despite the fact that all men are equal before God, Lock urges the government to rule legitimately since a government without consent of people can be overthrown through a revolution.

Basically, Karl Marx advocated for socialism by disdaining capitalism. In his theories about property, Marx believes that the nature of property ownership determines the kind and nature of social stratifications in a society. Marx believes that rights to private property ownership creates or necessitates separation in society in form of social classes between those who own property and laborers who seek wages from such people through provision of labor services. In his theories, Marx argues that social separations breeds oppression for the poor hence his advocacy for socialism where property is owned by everyone as a societal or community well being of promoting equality in terms of property ownership. Get Access. Read More.

Popular Essays. The rules of a system of private property are developed upon such a basic system. Hume explains the social phenomenon of possession or ownership by appealing to the theoretical artifice of an imagined, hypothetical state of affairs in which ownership is absent. The hypothetical state of affairs is then compared with what Hume believes is an actual state of affairs where there are rules of ownership. By isolating the differences between these two states of affairs, Hume uncovers those conditions which he believes combine to result in a need for rules of ownership, that is, for a basic system of property.

Hume and Locke smack of similarities and dissimilarities on Property right. This sounds similar to Hume. Locke believes that each person owns his labour. Therefore, if a person put any energy into resources in nature, the outcome is his. For Hume, uninstructed nature, surely, never made claim of what is mine or yours and since property has never been defined by nature, the concept is man-made. Both Locke[xix] and Hume[xix] believe that civil societies are made to establish laws governing possession of property.

Hume writes that private property is a necessity. Both also believe that absence of private property exposes people to the violence of others. People acquiring personal property and constantly looking to improve object will lead to the growth of a society. Kant began by emphasizing a general connection between property and civil constitution. He thought that there would be an affront to civil agency and thus to human personality, if some systems were not arrived at which could permit useful objects resources to be used.

But, appropriation of resources as private property affects everyone else in the sense that it imposes duties on people which they would otherwise not have. Thus, acquiring useful objects natural resources cannot acquire full legitimacy by unilateral action. Kant argued on this ground that there is a force of principle which requires people to act so that external objects can be used as property which also requires them to enter into a civil constitution which in turn will actually settle who is to be the owner of property on a basis that is fair to all. For him, one must clearly establish that there is theft or embezzlement before disobedience is potentially permissible. It is evident that Kant like Locke wrote about fixing ownership right in property through appropriation of useful resource.

However, while Locke was explicit about the means which he argues was labour, Kant was silent about the means. He only prescribed moral ground for protection of property which draws from the general principle he outlined in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. While Kant condemns civil disobedience if the scheme of ownership endorsed by the ruler of a state is at odds with the true condition of ownership, Locke endorsed civil disobedience in a similar case. Locke asserts that it is legitimate to rebel against any government that acts against preservations of right to property since it can never be conjectural to the society that the legislative should have power to destroy the end which everyone designs to secure by entering into political society, and submitting themselves to legislators of their own accord.

He further opines that whenever the legislators take away or destroy the property of the people, or reduce them to slavery applying arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God has provided for all men against force and violence. He wrote that husbands controlled their wives personal property with the occasional exception of land. Mill stated that Victorian wives lacked crucial features of legal personhood, since the husband was taken as the representative of the family including matters of property ownership.

This gives some indication of how disturbing for him the idea of a marriage between equals could appear to the Victorians. Some people are shocked, he thought, by the idea of a wife and a husband having separate interests in matters of money that they sentimentally think that it is inconsistent with the ideal fusion of two lives into one. They are right about the ideal but wrong about the practice. Mill strongly supports community of goods when this results from a complete unity of feeling among the owners, but has no taste for a community of goods that relies on the doctrine that what is mine is yours but what is yours is not mine.

He would choose not to enter into such a contract with anyone, even if he were the person to profit by it. According to Mill, the situation of a woman who has property is materially improved in the marriage relation by leaving her one instrument of power that she has not signed away. It also prevents scandalous abuse of the marriage institution in which a man traps a girl into marrying him purely so as to get her money — a situation called simulation of marriage. In a just state of things, Mill did not think it was desirable that the wife should usually contribute by her labour to the income or property of the family but Mill also thought that her doing so might be useful to her by increasing her value in the eyes of the man who is legally her master.

Mill was of the opinion that though the woman should have exclusive property right in what she would control if she were not married, she might not have independent property in what she earns with marriage contract. The power to earn while married is essential to her dignity. John Mill is of the opinion that though women have property right in their property before marriage, they ought to leave space free to tie up property by settlement, in order to preserve them for their children.

John Locke is related to John Mill because both support that parents have the duty of transferring their property to their children. Locke assumes that there is natural right to inheriting property. For him, the family is a natural society in which parents have an imposed obligation of providing for their offspring. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel in their Communist Manifesto seem to argue that private property works against equality of all men since it creates class difference.

Accordingly, he advocated communism. It is interesting to see Karl Marx arguing in his critique of Liberal Theories of property right against what he called primitive accumulation of capital. Marx notes that under Feudal Law, the proletariats were legally as entitled to their land as the aristocracy was to its manors. Marx cites several historical events in which large numbers of the peasantry were dispossessed of their lands, which were then seized by the aristocrats. These seized lands were then used for commercial ventures as sheep heading.

Marx sees this primitive accumulation as integral to the creation of English Capitalism. Marx concluded that Liberal theories of property are idyllic fairy tales that hide a violent historical process. He believes that everyone had natural rights but only to own property in common rather than in the more capitalist sense. Their position is that property should be owned communally. Locke does not agree with this position. The theory is organized under three principles: a Principle of justice in acquisition. The first of these principles specifies necessary and sufficient conditions for an individual to become the legitimate owner of an object which has not previously been owned by any individual.

The principle of justice in acquisition to which Nozick subscribes may be formulated thus:. By compact and agreement, individuals settle at the property that labour and industry began. Once men have settled common consent positively reached rather than natural right then determine the boundaries of property. This being the case one who has acquired such a title has no claim to the labour which has fix in the property as private. Karl Marx, feels that the bourgeoisie and the proletariat smack of inequities. The bourgeoisie own the means of production whereas the proletariat owns the labour which is mixed with resources to yield the dividend of property.

Sequel to this system of production and labour, it is only natural that a working class will exist who will be constantly exploited by an overseeing upper class. Thus, Locke was wrong in believing that it is impossible to separate value added, and he seems to have believed that resource value is insignificant. If these beliefs are incorrect, the conclusion that the labourer should own the entire resource is weakened. Not all appropriation theorists accept first labour as the method by which property claims can be established.

Some replace first labour with first claim, first use, first possession, or discovery. Some have proposed additional justifications for appropriation. More so, Locke opines that there is a limit to the much a man may mix with his labour and convert in his property. These rival and supporting theorists in association with John Locke on private property tradition show that intellection justification of property ownership has preoccupied man for centuries. Their traditions were dilated on and bitten into shapes as their theories found expression in ethics, government policies and positive laws.

His life covered the civil war period, the bloodless revolution and the restoration. His mother died while he was an infant and his father, a country lawyer, died a few years thereafter. He was educated at the famous Westminster school from and the University of Oxford from where he studied the classics: Greek Rhetoric, and moral philosophy. His later training was in medicine and experimental science. In he was elected to a senior fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford. He spent some time on the European mainland during a period of employment as secretary to the English ambassador to the Elector of Brandenburg in In he practiced medicine on the politician Anthony Ashley Cooper. Locke was elected a fellow of the recently established Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge in Locke suffered from asthma.

Moreover, heavy work load helped the asthma to weigh him down and contributed to his return to Oxford from London in Later that year he relocated to France where he based in Montpellier and Paris until his return to England in This essay constitutes greater part of his legacy in philosophy. In the Glorious Revolution of , William and Mary replaced James II as monarchs and the change of monarchy led to an alteration of the political climate in England. John Locke found favour with the new order and returned to England in February as a party to the crowned Mary II. Locke was offered a continental ambassadorship but preferred to take up a more modest domestic post in the Commission of Appeals for health reasons.

Locke was appointed Commissioner of Trade and Plantations in and held this position until he himself resigned because of ill health in While Locke had more or less prepared a number of works during his various periods of exile, it was only after his return to a more sympathetic England in that his works began to be published on a significant scale.

Several Letters on Toleration followed shortly afterwards. His Two Treatises of Government being perhaps of more interest for their seeming direct impact on practical affairs. Retrieved July 9, Thomas Williams, Cambridge: Hackett, , 1. John E. Rotelle, Trans. Paul E. Sigmund New York: W. Norton, , II-II q. Aristotle on Private Property and Money. Retrieved December 7, Vere Chappell Cambridge: Cambridge Press, , Locke argues that the state of nature, though, a state of liberty is not a state of license. Man in the state has an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions yet he has not the liberty to destroy himself, or any creature in his possession, except where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it.

This is because the state of nature has natural law to govern it, and imposing itself on everyone and reason and teaching all mankind who cares to consult it that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. Everyone is bound to preserve himself not quitting his station willingly, so that by like reason of his own preservation not based on competition, should strive to preserve the rest of mankind. Except when need arises to do justice to an offender, one should not take away or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of life, liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

On this he wrote:. Locke also writes on the state of war. He justifies as reasonable the right to destroy that which threatens one with destruction. When there is threat to rights commonly shared in the state of nature, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred. He asserts that a man may destroy a man who makes war on him or has discovered enmity with his being for the same reason he may kill a wolf or a lion because the aggressor is not under the common law of reason and has no other rule except that of force and violence. Locke writes about liberty in chapter four of the Second Treatise on Government.

According to him, the natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the legislative authority of any man, but to have only the law of nature as the rule. This is because by consenting to one body politic and one government, they put themselves under an obligation with everyone else who is a member to submit to the determination of the majority for the secure enjoyment of their property. On June 10, , James II announced the birth of a son, and suddenly there was the specter of a Catholic succession. This convinced Tories, as English defenders of royal absolutism were known, to embrace Whig ideas of rebellion. On November 5, , William crossed the English Channel with ships and soldiers.

Within a month, James II fled to France. Locke resolved to return home, but there were regrets. For example, he wrote the minister and scholar Philip van Limborch:. I almost feel as though I were leaving my own country and my own kinsfolk; for everything that belongs to kinship, good will, love, kindness—everything that binds men together with ties stronger than that of blood—I have found among you in abundance. I seem to have found in your friendship alone enough to make me always rejoice that I was forced to pass so many years amongst you.

Locke sailed on the same ship as the soon-to-be Queen Mary, arriving in London, February 11, During the next 12 months, his major works were published, and suddenly he was famous. Locke did not take religious toleration as far as his Quaker compatriot William Penn—Locke was concerned about the threat atheists and Catholics might pose to the social order—but he opposed persecution. He went beyond the Toleration Act , specifically calling for toleration of Anabaptists, Independents, Presbyterians, and Quakers. If a Roman Catholick believe that to be really the Body of Christ, which another man calls Bread, he does no injury therby to his Neighbour.

If a Heathen doubt of both Testaments, he is not therefore to be punished as a pernicious Citizen. He defended the natural law tradition whose glorious lineage goes back to the ancient Jews: the tradition that rulers cannot legitimately do anything they want because there are moral laws applying to everyone. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. Locke believed people legitimately turned common property into private property by mixing their labor with it, improving it.

Marxists liked to claim this meant Locke embraced the labor theory of value, but he was talking about the basis of ownership rather than value. He insisted that people, not rulers, are sovereign. For this would be in effect to leave them no Property at all. Locke had enormous foresight to see beyond the struggles of his own day, which were directed against monarchy:. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny , whether those that thus use it are one or many. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power , the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty.

To help assure his anonymity, he dealt with the printer through his friend Edward Clarke. Locke denied rumors that he was the author, and he begged his friends to keep their speculations to themselves. Locke destroyed the original manuscripts and all references to the work in his writings. His only written acknowledgment of authorship was in an addition to his will, signed shortly before he died. Ironically, the two treatises caused hardly a stir during his life. He challenged the traditional doctrine that learning consisted entirely of reading ancient texts and absorbing religious dogmas.

He maintained that understanding the world required observation. He encouraged people to think for themselves. He urged that reason be the guide. In , Locke published Some Thoughts Concerning Education , which offered many ideas as revolutionary now as they were then. Thomas Hobbes had insisted that education should promote submission to authority, but Locke declared education is for liberty.

Locke believed that setting a personal example is the most effective way to teach moral standards and fundamental skills, which is why he recommended homeschooling. He objected to government schools. He urged parents to nurture the unique genius of each child. All the entertainment and talk of history is of nothing almost but fighting and killing: and the honour and renown that is bestowed on conquerors who are for the most part but the great butchers of mankind further mislead growing youth, who Locke was asked by his new patron, Sir John Somers, a member of Parliament, to counter the claims of East India Company lobbyists who wanted the government to interfere with money markets.

He explained that market action follows natural laws and that government intervention is counterproductive. When individuals violated government laws like usury laws restricting interest rates, Locke blamed government for enacting the laws. Locke warned against debasing money and urged that the Mint issue full-weight silver coins. His view prevailed. Locke helped expand freedom of the press. He did this by twice opposing renewal of the Act for the Regulation of Printing. The second time, in , he was successful. Despite his love of liberty, Locke supported the establishment of the Bank of England in Its aim was to help the government finance wars against Louis XIV. It loaned money to the government in exchange for gaining a monopoly on dealing in gold bullion, bills of exchange, and currency.

As far as the poor were concerned, according to one friend, "He was naturally compassionate and exceedingly charitable to those in want. But his charity was always directed to encourage working, laborious, industrious people, and not to relieve idle beggars. Sir Francis Masham and his wife, Damaris, had invited Locke to spend his last years at Oates, their red brick Gothic-style manor house in North Essex, about 25 miles from London.

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