Marxist Locke Essays

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Marxist Locke

Karl Marx and John Locke both place a great deal of importance in both labour and property in discussing their political philosophies. At first glance, the two thinkers seem to possess completely different ideas on property, its importance, and the form of society which should grow from it. The disparity in their beliefs is evident, but they share a similar approach to labour and acceptable conditions while constructing philosophies which inherently attack each other. Locke’s suggestion that capitalism is a natural political progression can only be accomplished when the worker himself becomes a commodity to be traded, a transformation which Marx identifies as a major problem with capitalism. In looking at capitalism
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I would say that while Locke discusses the necessity for the state to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of property, the necessity for the state follows directly from property acquisition. According to Locke, the need for protection is spurred by the idea of property. The protection of one’s health and one’s freedoms directly relate to the property in his possession and the threat that other people may show him in desire for that property. Labour itself also plays a large part in Locke’s analysis of property and thus, the analysis of the state. What constitutes property for Locke? “Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property” (Locke 19). Locke places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of labour, and the fact that its addition to goods constitutes property. He goes so far as to say that in analyzing “what in [products] is purely owning to nature, and what to labour, we shall find that in most of them ninety-nine hundredths are wholly to be put on the account of labour” (Locke 25). This intrinsic value in labour is something we shall see later in Marx, and it is a characteristic of the two thinkers which relates their concepts. In a broad sense, it would seem as

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