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John Locke (1632-1704) is one of the most influential political philosophers the world has seen, having swayed minds such as Voltaire and the Founding Fathers of the USA. Locke’s seminal ideas have profoundly influenced modern liberalist thinking in particular, with his clear…
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Download file to see previous pages... The view incorporating God and man forms the basis of all Lockean theories.
John Locke’s major justification of property rights emphasizes effort or labor. In the initial portion of his treatise on property he uses the concept labor to anchor his arguments. However, by the end it is obvious that Locke supports the unrestricted accretion of wealth. The major flaw in Locke’s approach to labor is that in the real world, some people may inherit property, thus being born to ownership and property – the concept of the ‘fruits of labor’ does not arise here. On the other hand, others, often the majority of the population in most societies, may be born into the working class. The inheritor of property often not only owns the property, but also the labor of the worker, as well as the product produced by the worker.
Another valid criticism of Locke’s theory concerns his ‘sufficiency’ proviso, wherehe states that individuals can own property only if there is enough to go around. What happens when, as in the world today with its burgeoning population, there are not enough resources to meet even basic needs and there are huge disparities between the haves and have-nots? Next, Locke seems to imply that only those who work can own property – what of people who are physically or mentally handicapped? Finally. Locke also propagates the idea that those who arrive first to make use of unowned land have not just rights over the land, but also the right to bestow ownership of that land to their children. This concept only serves to perpetuate a class structure and emphasize distinctions between those classes.
John Lockes theories, and in particular his theory of property rights, must be appreciated in the context of the thinker’s political affiliations. Part of his effort was to justify English colonialist policies as he was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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