Property by John Locke

Locke starts the chapter by saying that wheather we consider natural reason or revelation it is clear that earth belongs to mankind in common. Locke does not contet himself to answer that if ti be difficult to make out property upon a revelation ( a suppositon that God gave the world to Adam and his posterity in common) but he rather will show how men might come to have a property in several parts of that which god gave to mankind in common, and that without any express compact of all the commoners.

Locke states that because the earth is given to mankind it has the reason and right to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience. The earth and all that there is in is given to men for their use to support their existing. So all the fruits earth naturally produces and all the beast that it feeds belong to mankind in common, as they are produced by the nature itself without anyt effort put in by men. As long as the goods given by earth are in this natural state no body has a private dominon in any of them.

Still being given for the use of men there must be a means to appropriate them some way or other. Though all the creatures of the earth are common to men, yeat every men has a property in his own person. Also the labour that he makes is his own. So the labour that man puts in common goods makes them after this his property at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others. So that labour puts a distinction between private and common: that added something to them more than nature, the common mother of all, had done; and so they became his private right.

Further this law of nature that by this means give us property, does also bound that property too. Man can own and make property as much of whitch he can make use of: whatever is beyond this is more than his share and belongs to others. But as the cheif matter of property is the earth itself instead of the fruits of the earth and the beasts that subsist on it: The property in land is acquired as the former. As much land as a man can till, plant and cultitave, and can use the product of, so much is his property.

He by his labour does, as it were, inclose it from the common. Although god gave the world to men in common it can not be supposed that it should always remain common. As it is told when man put labour in something he incloses it from common. And as the measure of property is in mesuarable in labour that man has put on it and in the amount that he can enjooy, use and benefit it is expected that man could not enjoy of such large part that it could intrech upon the right of another or aquire to himself a property to be prejudice his neighbourgh.

It is certain that in the beginning, before the desire of having more than man needed had altered the intrinisic value of things or gold was still not ”discovered” every man had a right to appropriate , by their labour, each on of himself, as much of the things of nature, as he could use it could not be that much to be harm for the other man. Locke also adds that when man appropriates land to himself by his labour he does not lessen, but increase the common stock of mankind.

One acre of inclosed and cultitative land produces much more servings that support life than ten acre of common land that is lying. As the idea is that man can have property as much as he puts labour on it and can use and benefit from it, it is so that everything that went over his need was not his but common. It means also that if he give away fruits of his land he uses them and so do not waste the common stock.

Again if he gave those fruits for peace of medal and kept that metal all his life with him he invadided not the the right of others. He could heap up as much of ther durable things as he pleased. And thus came in the use of money, some lastin thing that men might keep without spoiling, and that by mutual consent men would take in exchange for the truly useful, but perishable support of life.

Since gold and silver , being little useful to the life of man, it is plain that men have agreed to a dispropotionate and unequal possession of the earth, they having, by a tacit and voluntary consent, found out, a way how a man may fairly possess more lanf tha he himself can use the product of, by receiving in exchange for the overplus gold and silver, which may be hoarded up without injury to any one: these are not spoiling or decaying in the hand os the possessor.