Compare And Contrast Hobbes And Locke's State Of Nature

894 Words4 Pages
The state of nature is the condition under which man lived prior to the formation of state, where no person possesses political power. While Hobbes state of nature is ahistorical and is a hypothetical construct to help us grasp human nature in its purest form, Locke believes such a state has existed historically and that this is the state men are in naturally and will remain in until they decide to form a state. Firstly, Hobbes and Locke differ in what they describe people to be motivated by. According to Hobbes, people are self-serving and are motivated to maximize their achievements of good by power. Good refers to anything they desire; bad refers to anything they are averse to, instead of being based on impersonal moral principle. On the…show more content…
With the introduction of the 19 Laws of Nature, Hobbes’ primary state of nature would transition into a more peaceful secondary state of nature i.e. formation of society and civil government. On the other hand, with the introduction of money and unequal possessions, Locke’s primary state of nature would degrade into a state of war. In the Post-Monetary State of Nature, the introduction of money changes the natural limits to accumulation. One could accumulate more than he could use without spoiling. At the same time, since money cannot spoil, people could sell excess goods without anything going to waste. It also introduced a market economy beyond bartering. This weakens the limits to Locke’s appropriation of property and people could have unlimited ownership. However, since not all are able to appropriate property, some people would sell their labour for wages and labour becomes a form of property. Soon a class distinction develops - a working class and the property owners. At the same time, unequal rational morality develops. Locke says the “Industrious and Rational” follow the Law of Nature and subdue earth through labour while the “Quarrelsom and Contentious” meddle with what another has laboured on. In the Post-Monetary State of Nature where labourers have no land, they cannot be rational. Unequal class status and some not having rational morality, causes the State of Nature to degrade into an insecure state that resembles Hobbes State of War. This is when a political state which writes and enforces laws is
Open Document