Property Debate Between Locke & Rousseau Essay

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Pages: 5

John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, two philosophers with differing opinions concerning the concept of private property. Rousseau believes that from the state of nature, private property came about, naturally transcending the human situation into a civil society and at the same time acting as the starting point of inequality amongst individuals. Locke on the other hand argues that private property acts as one of the fundamental, inalienable moral rights that all humans are entitled to. Their arguments clearly differ on this basic issue. This essay will discuss how the further differences between Locke and Rousseau lead from this basic fundamental difference focusing on the acquisition of property and human rights.
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In this way they also provide for others as cultivated land produced more produce than a smaller share of uncultivated land
Although Rousseau agrees with Locke initially about mixing labour with land and thus acquiring ownership he argues that this right can not be claimed. Those who own property are only able to keep it as long ass they have the power to do so. By a cunning plan, and false character, the land owners realize that in order to protect themselves from the non-land owners, they employ the poor as slaves and make them believe they were benefitting equally. This double slave relationship is established, the rich being enslaved by the poor in terms of their need for safety and the poor enslaved by the rich for the need of survival. Rousseau believes that equality may have prevailed had men’s talents all been the same but this not being the case.

The property owners having the most power in this new society thus wrote laws and a justice system was established in favour of the property owners. This new society is a state of despotism, the slaves having no say over the laws that are governing them. Locke’s account for the development of society comes from the fencing off of the land that one has cultivated and mixed their labour with, settling upon agreed boundaries between neighbours. Laws are established by agreement between one