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Locke - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Locke John Locke was A British philosopher who was best known for his personal identity theory and an anti-authoritarian state theory. John Locke contended that owning property privately was everyone’s natural right since it is the only manner through which man can be self-sustaining in physical comfort…
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Download file to see previous pages... Without getting consent from the original owner, at this point, no one can possess the resources (Locke 35). Accordingly, all individuals must labor to acquire property. In addition, the property must personally benefit the individual for it to be considered individual property. Labor that the individual cannot use can be traded in for money, which can later be re-traded for property. Locke contrasts gaining of possession through actions both natural and unnatural. The major difference between the two processes is whether the property that one sought for ownership had a previous owner or still lay within the common ownership domain. People who want to acquire property that already belongs to other individuals do not apply labor to own the property (Locke 40). Instead, they are out to own what someone else has already applied his/her labor to with nothing, such as money, in return. While it can be argued that any individual taking ownership of anything should first seek out others to ask their permission if the community owned it, Locke deemed this approach impractical. He compares it to requiring permission from everyone in sight before eating an apple one has found fallen by the roadside (Locke 41). Similarly, if an individual takes ownership of property and leaves more of the same for other people to own and enjoy, no property usurpation can be claimed to have gone on. This should be considered as an action of natural occurrence. However, Locke does caution on how natural private property can be, arguing that the individual should only take as much as is required for personal and family enjoyment (Locke 45). In addition, the property must be only enough for enjoyment without it going bad in the process. For instance, it is not natural in his view to hoard what can perish. While this is true, it is not unnatural for an individual to own or gather more than is enough for personal consumption if the excess is further traded for the purpose of attaining what one does not own or produce. Since labor endows private property with its naturalness, an individual cannot claim property simply for owning it. The individual is required to labor on the land. Therefore, any individual can lose ownership of their property if there is no application of labor (Locke 46). This is because, in that state, the property is not of benefit to them or anyone else. From a cursory reading of Locke, one could assume that he proposes that it is right for a person to put up boundaries on national parks and apply labor to it, allowing the property to become his/her private property. However, deeper reading counters this interpretation by showing that, at this point, there is there is an overlap of divine law and human law. While nature allows man to use earth as he sees best for convenience and self-sustenance, man is not necessarily the determinant of how individuals will use the land (Locke 50). For this reason, people come together to create social bodies and jurisdictions such as towns and villages, which determine the best way to benefit collectively from the resources. Sometimes, these jurisdictions may determine that some land will be left out of individual hands and be in common ownership. Attempting to own the property individually would cause a decrease in its usefulness to the community that possesses the land together. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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