Property Rights, Lockean

John Locke proposes his theory of property rights in The Second Treatise of Government (1690). The theory is rooted in laws of nature that Locke identifies, which permit individuals to appropriate, and exercise control rights over, things in the world such as land and other material resources. Key among the various control rights is the right to exclude others from it. In other words, Locke’s theory is a justificatory account about the legitimacy of private property rights. Locke’s natural law justification is distinct from other accounts circulating in the 17th and early 18th centuries. For example, Thomas Hobbes argued that rules protecting private property must be the design of the political authority. Alternatively, somewhat later, David Hume argued that property rules are evolved prelegal conventions ...

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