John Locke Right To Property

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“There is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination, and engages the affections of mankind, as the right of property”. – Blackstone
“Property is the root of all evil: and at the same time, property is that toward all the activity of modern world is directed, and that which directs the activity of the world”. – Tolstoy
“That government can scarcely be deemed to be free where the rights of property are left solely dependent upon the will of a legislative body without any restraint”. -Joseph Story
1.1. Introduction
In India, Right to property is a highly debatable issue since its insertion in the Constitution of India. For more understanding of right to property we have to first understand the meaning of the term ‘property’. According
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Some thinkers focus on the individualistic view on property i.e. right to property has as significance as right to life and personal liberty. There can be no right to life and personal liberty without right to property (e.g. Locke). On the other hand some thinkers deal with the idea of utilitarianism in the context of right to property (e.g. Jeremy Bentham). This chapter deals with the ideas of various philosophers on right to property.
2.1. John Locke’s idea on right to property
For John Locke right to property originates in the state of nature. In this state of nature men were born free and equal. There is no authority of one man over the actions of another. Locke pointedly rejects the view that bases property rights on consent. In his eyes the right to property is natural, or pre-contractual.
He also argued that no one ought to infringe the right of another as all are equal and independent. According to John Locke, whatsoever a man removes out of State is that nature has provided and left it in, he had mixed it with his labour, and joined to it something that is his own and therefore makes it his
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He had given two arguments for property- Natural right and social benefits. Under natural rights self-ownership of goods is created by man through labour. Under social benefits Locke points out that the increased productiveness of private land over common land implies an increase in the economic well-being of the community as a whole. If we relate idea of John Locke in Indian context, then state has no authority to take away the land of landowners without their consent.
2.2. Rousseau’s idea on Right to Property
Rousseau defines right to property as moral claim. For him property should be acquired through legitimate means. Rousseau explained that right to claim property involves right of first occupant. There are three necessary structures to establish this state of possession. There should be no prior inhabitation, ownership must be based on need not on greed and the individuals must actually work the land they claim.
According to Rousseau, concern for private property give rise to civil society and individual rights of the people give rise to a community. Each individual property is protected by the governance of the whole. Requirement of land ownership is necessary for the protection of a stable government. So, the rights of an individual must be protected. Rousseau advocated for the individual right to property which ultimately leads to stable
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