Wednesday, August 19, 2015

John Locke on Property Rights

John Locke famously argued that we acquire rights in the property with which we mix our own labour:

Though the Earth, and all inferior Creatures be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. 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. Whatsoever then he re-moves out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property. It being by him removed from the common state Nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other Men. For this Labour being the un-questionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a right to what that is once joyned to, at least where there is enough and as good left in common for others.

You see immediately that, right from the off, Locke virtually assumes his own conclusion: that every Man has a Property in his own Person means the concept of Property is already assumed. But he does take it some way further.

Source:  Peter Cresswell in NotPC

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