The principle of self-ownership asserts that every person has a property in his or her own person and the labor of his or her body. Ever since the 17th-century political philosopher John Locke argued for self-ownership on the ground of self-preservation, many political philosophers, economists, and business ethicists have debated the meaning, extent, and political implications of selfownership. The basic tenet of classical liberalism in the 18th and early 19th centuries was the idea that individuals owned themselves. To protect individuals'freedom to develop their talents and life plans without intervention, many classical liberals argued that maintenance of law and order and protection of individual liberty were the unique functions of government. Economic liberals in that era, in particular, argued that individuals should structure their economic ...

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