ers like others in their times thought deeply about the role of the rulers who were at that time Kings and Queens and whether hereditary rights alone are enough to govern. This reflected in their works on property and man’s right to own property as well as the kind of contract that man had with state in such matters.
In this paper, I draw upon the works of these three thinkers to assess their contribution to the issue of private property and man’s right to own such property as well as the fact that we might not have such rights at all. These three thinkers represent different bands in the spectrum about the issue and hence their contributions are worth comparing and contrasting to arrive at an understanding of what their views about the issue were.
Among all the three thinkers, Locke was the most vocal exponent of man’s right to own property and the role of the state in facilitating such rights. However, Locke’s views were nuanced as far as owning private property was concerned. For instance, Locke held the view that since we are free in our movements and are owners of our bodies, so, any efforts that we put in to “pour ourselves” into improving natural objects like land must necessarily belong to us as we have invested significant time and energy in making the land worthwhile for human use. The way in which Locke proposed this in The Second Treatise on Government is by alluding to the investment of labor that one does to improve the land for the use by all.
To cite Locke, “The same principle of appropriation by the investment of labor can be extended to control over the surface of the earth as well, on Lockes view. Individuals who pour themselves into the land—improving its productivity by spending their own time and effort on its cultivation—acquire a property interest in the result. (2nd Treatise §32) The plowed field is worth more than the virgin prairie precisely because I have invested my labor in plowing it; so even if the prairie was