Contrasting Views of Locke vs. Marx: Private Property

Topics: Marxism, Karl Marx, Communism Pages: 1 (307 words) Published: October 22, 2013

Locke vs. Marx: Private Property
Two influential thinkers, Locke and Marx have conflicting views on ideas and philosophies, private property being one. John Locke believed that that private property was a natural right, and one of the most important ones at that. A famous quote by Locke states that all men have the right to "life, liberty and property." Locke believes that God gave man the earth, but by adding ones own labor to this given land, it them becomes the mans private property. In addition to this concept, Locke also believed that the main purpose of the government is to protect individual’s private property as well. In a state of nature there is no way for each individual to ensure that their property remains safe from every one else. Once conflict over private property starts to occur the people come together and use to their reason to draft a social contract that will protect their property. Locke also believes that a form of hierarchy comes from the formation of private property, that men are forced to form a contract amongst themselves and craft a government. Whereas Karl Marx's views towards private property are quite different. In his Communist Manifesto he states that "the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." Marx believed that the bourgeoisie controlled all of the profit creating property and used it to enslave the proletariat, or working class. Marx disagrees with John Locke's theory of property, Marx argues that workers labor doesn't grant them any property whereas the capitalist class has all the property but does no labor. In the Communist Manifesto it is argued that labor has been used throughout history to repress and exploit the working class and that the only things that change are the structures of the exploitation.
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