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    John Locke – Money and Property Essay

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    Locke starts in the chapter concerning property by stating that, whether by natural reason or the word of God, the world is given to the people in common to use for their benefit. “God, who had given the world to men in common had also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience. ” He then asks an important question: if the world and all the goods on the earth is the common property of mankind, how does one individual acquire individual property? How does one determine what one own and what he or she has the right to? And how much does one have the right to?

    In this paper I would like to explain Locke’s argument concerning where property comes from and what gives individual right to keep and maintain that property. Property is a product of labor because it is the effort of acquiring and maintaining that one use that makes it his or hers. Everything produced by nature is as stated every man’s common property and no one originally have a private ownership to what natures produce. For personal ownership and individual property to exist, there must be a reason or appropriate, and it must provide some sort of benefit to that person that appoint it his or hers.

    Locke presents the idea that property of a person is his own body and this person is the only one who has the rights to that body. “Every man has a property in his own person. This no body has any right to but himself. ” Moreover he explains that because we are owners of our own body, the labor we perform with our own body is also ours. If we then apply this labor when we acquire something produced by the nature, the labor will make this ours and therefore our individual property. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state of nature had provided, and left it in, he had mixed his labor with, and joined to it something that is his own. ” He also explains that when a person have used his labor and claimed ownership over the object this “transforms” the object from common to individual property and therefore it excludes the right of other men to own it. He presents an example of picking an apple: when I add my labor by picking the apple I make it my property and I appropriated it to myself. “If the first gathering made them not his, nothing else could.

    That labor put a distinction between them and common. ” All of human beings have the same right and one does not need consent from other humans to pick the apple, but there is a certain limit on how much one should acquire for oneself. Locke sets a limit for how much property one should be in possession of. It is not a limit made up of a specific figure, but a limit within reason. A person should only acquire as much property one can reasonably use and enjoy. “God has given us all things richly But how far has he given it us? – To enjoy. Nothing was made to spoil, and the world was given to human for the benefit of life. By cultivating land one would improve life, but by spoiling or wasting goods, human would not maintain the world, but rather rob their neighbors for that opportunity. “If the fruits rotted or the venison putrified, before he could spend it, he offended against the common law of nature. ” Locke then applies these rules to land. A person may claim land by adding labor to it: farming or building a house on it, but again only as much which is reasonable without wasting.

    Locke then defines labor as the tool to determine the difference of value. “The improvement of labor makes the greater part of the value. ” Locke finishes the chapter by explaining the gains of trade between each other and the invention of money. Many goods have a short life span, and by trading goods, one does not waste or destroy the common stock. This is also how the invention of money occurred. This was an agreement of men to put a value on goods. Money allows them to trade goods in exchange for a specific valuation, and this way prevents spoiling of goods.

    Money is a material valuation, which exceeds from labor. “Money, some lasting thing that men might keep without spoiling, and that by mutual consent men would exchange for the truly useful, but perishable supports life. ” The conclusion of Locke’s argument of where property comes from is that property comes from oneself and the labor put in to an object. When labor is mixed with common goods from the nature it becomes individual property although one should only have as much property as necessary, without any waste. The gains from trade and the use of money is one way to prevent waste.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    John Locke – Money and Property Essay. (2018, Jul 23). Retrieved from

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