The concept of property and inequality through the eyes of Locke and Rousseau

Write an essay that explicates and assesses Lockeâs

and Rousseauâs

respective views of property and inequality. How does each thinker

understand the source of the institution of property? How does each of them conceive of the relationship between property and inequality? Are their views

compatible or not? If not, which thinker provides the most adequate account of this relationship and why. This is what I wrote so far: During the 17th

century the idea of property and inequality was never considered a matter of confronting. It was seen as if finding a tiny needle in a big stack of hay,

while not impossible, would take an immense amount of effort and courage. The right of property was controlled solely by the Monarch, no one dared to

question and expression of inequality was nonexistent. The Divine Right of Kings established and asserted its political legitimacy. The belief was that the

monarch acquired its power to rule directly from God thus imposing authority on property, equality and domination. By the late 17th century modern

philosopher Thomas Hobbes challenged the Divine Right of Kings to rule and rejected the concept of politics as natural. This form of modern political

thought paved the way for such philosophers as John Locke and Jacque Rousseau. Both modern philosophers vividly expanded on the concept of private

property and the relationship of inequality through their interpretation of the State of Nature. What was the State of Nature in their view and what did it

have to do with the source of the institution of property? Locke believed that all people have the rights to 3 essential elements life, liberty, and property.

People are good and equal not in their ability but in their rights. He argued that all men are born with the unlimited possession of property, with the

ownership of their fruits of labour and as long as there is an infinite amount of goods that can be used without wasting, then people have a natural right to

those goods and property. Yet Lockeâs

views The concept of private property for Locke was a natural God given right and significantly influenced the

ideas of government. He believed that the preservation of property was the fundamental reason that humans left the state of nature and formed

governments. According to Locke all men are born with the ownership of their own body and ownership of the fruits of their labor. He suggested that

because all men own their bodies any product of their physical labor also becomes their own property. For example, when an individual picks an apple,

the apple becomes theirs for they picked it, added their labor and made it their property. The individual invests labor into some good or material, he gains

ownership of that possession. The use of labor is completely individualistic and one should not be able to control another labor for it would violate their

natural rights. For Locke “Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy.â

Individuals can only acquire so much before it begins to spoil. He

reiterated how man cannot take possession of more than he can use because he would then be wasting materials that might be used by other humans.

Locke writes in Second Treatise of Government âAs

much as any one can make use of to any advantage of life before it spoils; so much he may by his

labour fix a Property in. Whatever is beyond this, is more than his share, and belongs to others.â

(II, 31) .If man should act contrary to the common

good of humanity, he must then âforfeitâ

his right to property. John Locke’s idea leans on the notion that we are governed by a law of nature that

aims to promote the welfare of all humanity. Private property serves this aim by making human beings more productive, thereby creating more resources

for everyone. This may be interpreted as a practical theory yet once money was introduced it revolutionized the whole concept of property and allowed

humans to accumulate great amounts of wealth and large volumes of inequalities. The invention of money became a form of exchange that allowed

individuals to multiple their possessions. Since the value of currency did not spoil, there was no longer limitation on how much land one could own. Money

motivated the means of production and barter. According to Locke, the development of commerce was useful to mankind and once trade was established

money allowed people to desire a common value of worth to trade goods in a system of trade. Yet Locke believed that people should not accumulate

more property than they can use, for it would be a waste of resources and would defeat the purpose of ownership of land as well the productivity. He

referred to the production of labor as the ultimate source of value in property. Through the fruits of hard work one is rewarded hence, contributing to the

good of society. Locke makes the case that government exists to secure property rights and to protect men from arbitrary power. He states that while in

the state of nature men have a ânatural

right of unlimited property, in which society and government are not entitled to interfere.â

However The

assignment needs to be seven pages. Is it possible to incorporate this some how or either modified.

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