Origins of Private Property
• Christianity: God gave men the world in Common
• So how can anyone have individual property?
Nature Introduces private property
• Natural reason: men have the right to self-preservation and therefore
resources. And in order to be useful to us, resources have to be appropriated
• Something becomes yours when you labour or work with a particular thing.
Picking an apple is an example of this.
• Criticism: he sees the world as forever abundance
You own your body and the things you make with it
• Human beings have property over their own person. Their body, their labour,
and the products of their labour (provided they don’t deprive anyone else of
access to the common).
• Because your body labours you own it.
• The labour of making an object useful makes it yours
Objection: couldn’t you just take everything?
• Solution: the purpose of appropriation is enjoyment. Take only those
resources that you can enjoy.
o If you take too much it will spoil and you are depriving everyone.
Waste is only the crime
• The need for government comes from potential for humans to infringe on
each other’s life, liberty, property. Civil society exists to protect natural rights
Law is Natural Reason
• Civil law should not be a limitation, but direct one’s proper interest. It
prescribes the general good, which is freedom
o Liberty is freedom from restraint and violence from others, the
freedom to dispose of property within the bounds of laws.
o If people could be happier without the law it would vanish. (Right to
It’s good to have land
• Land can be owned through labour: till the earth to make it useful and it is
• This is not prejudicial to others, because there is lots of land left for them. No
one could possibly appropriate everything.
• Although I’m speaking of long ago, the same rule applies today: there’s more
than enough land to support twice the world’s population.
• At the time of Locke’s writing the world’s population was about 600,000.
Now it is about 7,000,000,000. If we divided all land on earth, each individual
would get ab