Philosophy

Importance of the Concept of Private Property in the Political Philosophy of John Locke

The government is obligated to protect private property in order to maintain public good (Locke Social Order 2001). In the same token, nature grants to all men the right to enforce natural law and punish those who violate it (Locke Social Order 2001). Locke posits that the government’s power to govern is limited to the necessity of protecting the rights on the property (Simonds 1997). The existence of the state and the government is interconnected with the existence of property (Moseley 2006).The man owns his own self and body (Moseley 2006). He extends ownership to natural things when he joins his labour” with them (Moseley 2006). His concept justifies the accumulation of wealth based on utility and morality (Moseley 2006). Utility refers to the application on one’s labour and efforts for the improvement of natural things. The morality aspect expounds of the accumulation of wealth as long as others (who have the same right as anyone else to utilise nature) are not deprived to improve on other natural things.His concept of the property reflects the classical theory and Roman law (Simonds 1997). God gave all men equal access to the bounty of the earth. Man can convert natural things into his private property according to what he needs to survive or within a limit, to enjoy (Simonds 1997). Being equal, all men have the same right over the earth and everything on it. Ownership and the amount of property that an individual owns, however, depend upon the labour exerted. Locke explained that the body and actions of a person belong to him/her (Locke Social Order 2001). Thus, any improvement upon the natural world using the body and actions of a person belongs to him/her (Locke Social Order 2001). The application of labour upon nature and natural objects is a mode of appropriation that extends the personal property of a person (Locke Social Order 2001).With the use of actions upon nature, the resulting products then belong to the person that exerted labour (Locke Social Order 2001).

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