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Single Idea 19874

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / c. Property rights]

Full Idea

Whatever a man removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined something to it that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. ...This excludes the common right of other men.

Gist of Idea

If a man mixes his labour with something in Nature, he thereby comes to own it


John Locke (Second Treatise of Government [1690], 027)

A Reaction

This is Locke's famous Labour Theory of Value. Does picking it up count as labour? Putting a fence round it? Paying someone else to do the labour? Do bees own their honey? Settlers in the wilderness own nothing on day one?

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Two Treatises of Government' [Everyman 1988], p.130

Related Ideas

Idea 19872 The animals and fruits of the earth belong to mankind [Locke]

Idea 19873 We all own our bodies, and the work we do is our own [Locke]

Idea 19875 A man's labour gives ownership rights - as long as there are fair shares for all [Locke]