Essay about Locke vs Marx

Essay about Locke vs Marx

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Karl Marx and John Locke both formulated philosophical theories that worked to convince people of their rights to freedom and power; however, they had conflicting viewpoints on the idea of private property. Locke felt that property belonged to whoever put their labor into it, and one could accumulate as much property as he or she wants (692). Marx, however, considered the private property of the select few who possessed it to be the product of the exploitation of the working class (1118). Personally, I believe that Locke’s conception of private property is more convincing than Marx’s point of view.
In Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, he defines his view of private property. He states that the earth belongs to all men in common, yet each man has possession of his own body. Since he has possession of his own body, he also has possession of his body’s labor. Therefore, that which he puts his labor into also becomes his property. Thus, one’s private property is that which one has put their labor into (692). Locke believes that, even though God gave the earth to all human beings, he did not want the land to be uncultivated. Instead, Locke says that God “gave it to the use of the industrious and rational” (693). Locke felt that land that was not being cultivated was going to waste, and by “waste”, Locke meant that which has little to no benefit. Initially, Locke says that one cannot hoard and possess as much property as he or she wants. They can only keep that which they are able to use, and any excess is considered waste. If one is hoarding property that they cannot use, they are thus preventing other people from actually using that property (693). However, an exception is made when the creation of money comes into...


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...its because if everyone, no matter how much effort they put forth, received the same amount of property, people would naturally cease to work hard since it would be of no benefit to them. If people stopped working hard, the entire success of our society would gradually slip into a decline, since people would not be competing and trying to outdo each other. Competition among human beings is vital to motivate technological advancements, artistic ideas, and industrious innovations. Therefore, if people are not competing to come up with new ideas, societal advancement will come to a halt. Both Marx’s and Locke’s ideals are revolutionary and concerned with human liberty. However, Locke considers that each human being is an individual, and not just another community member, which is a vital detail to consider when concerned with the natural rights of human beings.

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