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Political Theory: Property

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Introduction
One of the most confounding concepts in the discipline of political theory is the issue of property. Classical philosophers like Plato and Aristotle dedicate a large part of their works to speculations about the state of nature and property ownership. However, a comprehensive theoretical exploration of the concept of private property ownership is credited to relatively modern philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. The writings of Locke and Rousseau on property ownership are quite fascinating to compare. Both philosophers portray the early stages of man in what they refer to as the State of Nature. This paper takes a critical look at Rousseau’s conceptualization of private property and the state in relation to Locke’s works on the subject.
Origins of Property in the State of Nature
According to Locke, man is driven out of his primitive state by his desire to satisfy his needs. He believes that man is able to acquire only the basic essentials while in the primitive state. John Locke perceives the issue of property acquisition from the standpoint of land. He believes that land increases in value and productivity due to cultivation. Therefore, labor is the foundation on which one can claim property ownership. If you work tilling land, then the land belongs to you while the one who constructs a house owns the house. He proposes certain principles, which must be adhered to for ownership of land and property to be permissible. He asserts that man must not harvest from nature in excess of what he can use. When accumulating property, man must ensure that there is enough left to satisfy the needs of others.
In an apparent response to Locke’s ideas on the origin of private property, Rousseau maint...

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...e. Their views on private property lead us to the relationship between property ownership and the legitimacy of government. From the above arguments, it is evident that Rousseau’s theory is in response to Locke.

Works Cited
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse On the Origin of Inequality , Minneapolis: Filiquarian Publishing, LLC., 2007. Print.

Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government, USA: Maestro Reprints, 2012. Print.

Fetherston, Tony. Becoming an Effective Teacher, South Melbourne, Victoria: Thomson Learning, 2007. Print.

Works Cited
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse On the Origin of Inequality , Minneapolis: Filiquarian Publishing, LLC., 2007. Print.

Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government, USA: Maestro Reprints, 2012. Print.

Fetherston, Tony. Becoming an Effective Teacher, South Melbourne, Victoria: Thomson Learning, 2007. Print.