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Running head: JOHN LOCKE AND THE RIGHT TO PRIVATE PROPERTY
John Locke and the Right to Private Property
Classical liberalism considers property, life and liberty as the fundamental rights.
However, the right to property is considered as one of the most distinctive aspects of the adored
triad of the natural rights accorded among humans. A critical analysis of John Locke’s
propositions on the right to private property greatly reveals his inclination on the labor theory.
Accordingly, the labor theory posits that the efforts, labor and intelligence upheld by people can
be translated to the equivalent value of the private property that individuals are entitled to own.
As such, John Locke bases his argument on the fact that an individual’s effort is an equal product
of his body. In this case, a person can only claim ownership of the labor that his/her body strives
to accomplish. The position is echoed in Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace where the
philosopher defines the rightful ownership of property as one’s connection to a valued object to
the extent that another person’s use of such an object without the originator’s consent would be
offensive. As such, an individual only needs to appropriate the total output of his toil only in
instances where the positive side attributed to the output does not undergo spoilage but is put to
optimal utilization. For instance, western settlers in the early years had the power to fence off the
pieces of land that they acquired to meet their farming and grazing needs. As such, they had the
moral authority to claim the ownership of these pieces of land as private ...
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