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John Locke's Notion of Money - Essay Example

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(Name) (Professor) (Subject) (Date) John Locke’s Notion of Money In John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, the English philosopher defines money as “a little piece of yellow metal, which would keep without wasting or decay [and] should be worth a great piece of flesh, or a whole heap of corn” (Locke, Second Treatise V.37)…
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John Lockes Notion of Money
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John Locke's Notion of Money

Download file to see previous pages... He bases this idea on the definition of labor. According to Locke, “The labor of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his” (V.27). This means that if one labors for something, that something naturally becomes his property. Therefore, labor determines property. This property then is assumed to be useful and “the intrinsic value of things…depends only on their usefulness to the life of man” (V.37). Therefore, property has value, and this value can only be represented by money. Therefore, if one has money, even if the property is gone, its value stays with its rightful owner. Furthermore, this means that since money does not decay, then it does not lose its value. In fact, money does not only have value but it also serves as a pledge or an agreement among people that they will honor its value through “mutual consent” (V.47). Lastly, according to Locke, money is a means to “enlarge” man’s possessions or property (V.48). Since money became a means to exchange useful goods and since different industries developed to give man different amounts of possessions, money became a means to own larger and larger property. ...
If we rely on barter, we cannot exactly know how much of one thing can be justly or rightfully exchanged with another. Therefore, for Aristotle, “all good must…be measured by some one thing” and that only money can serve as a standard or it can provide the means to an equal exchange of goods (V.3). The idea of equal exchange is based on Aristotle’s idea of justice, which is the topic of the whole Chapter 5 of the Nicomachean Ethics. For Aristotle, the reason why money should be used as a basis of equality is that it is fixed and more stable than other criteria. For example, nobody can exactly say who is virtuous and whether virtuous people must receive more that those who are not. Money, however, is fixed and will give its owner the same value whether he is “more virtuous” than another person. Aristotle also states that money is “not always worth the same; yet it tends to be steadier” (V.3). This means that the value of money may change but it is still a better mode of exchange because it is not perishable. Moreover, money is “our surety,” which means that money is a guarantee or a pledge that its value will be honored by all men as it is “fixed by agreement” (V.3). This also means that even if now we do not need to use a product that money can buy, the fact that we have money means that we can still use this product in the future when we need it. Aristotle and John Locke on Money Aristotle and John Locke both have similar and different opinions on money. Nevertheless, Aristotle’s views seem more viable. Both philosophers believe that money is more or less a practical mode of exchange. According to John Locke, money does not decay like perishable goods such as corn and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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