For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"John Locke, Property Rights, and Economic Theory"

by Henry, John F (1999)


… Second, the appropriation of land ( property in general) previously held in com- mon could not work to the … Potential workers could simply claim unused land unless they were coerced into working for others-and Locke rules out … John Locke , Property Rights, and Economic Theory …

Key Passage

For the Lockean argument to hold, individuals must have the right to establish themselves as independent proprietors: when the commons is privatized, the appropriation of land must not "prejudice" any individual, for there must be enough equally good land for others to appropriate as they so choose. That is, in neoclassical terms, one must have the right to exit not just one market and enter another (a right usually assigned to the "entrepreneur"), but to exit markets altogether-if, in the subjective appraisal of the individual (the utility calculation), that individual would be better served through independent production.  (p.620)


Locke, Political Economics, History, History Of Ideas, Labor, Labor Theory Of Value, Property Rights


On Locke

Links to Reference



How to contribute.