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The Philosophy of John Locke - Book Report/Review Example

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The Philosophy of John Locke

Chapter V of the Second Treatise defines 'property' as land according to Locke and can be examined in two different ways. First, that land, property or external objects that are owned by him and secondly, the land or external objects that were once owned by his forefathers and are used by him. The Mabo v Queensland case belongs to the second category. According to Locke, it is the 'labour' factor that can make a difference in property acquisition. Because the origin of private property is labour, therefore the inheritance of private property should also be determined by examining the 'labour' factor.
For Locke, the justification of property is the problem of acquisition which he starts reasoning in the natural sense that God created mankind to utilise property as long as he lives. Almost as common to the traditional natural law analysis of property as the initial assumption of property in common is a notorious difficulty to which that assumption gave rise. Man may be endowed communally, but he must be nourished individually (Anstey, 2003, p. 62). According to the chapter V of the 'Second Treatise' which puts restrictions on the authorised acquisition of property, a man can only possess the right to acquire a property if his own labour is involved in it. In this case the reason for not constituting native title and indigenous land as proper ownership by Locke is clear for the basic perceptions Locke provided with the European political thought.
The decision taken by the 6-1 judges in the Mabo v Queensland's case negates what Locke refers the basic rule of property that every man in a society should have as much as he could make use of. Furthermore Locke believes that an equal law or measure of the just price must be followed in accordance with the market situation so that every man must acquire equal share and not by the profit rate so that every man in the society subjects to justice. Example to understand this is the problem of clipped silver coins, he stresses the significance of a fixed equal measure, claiming that 'the Standard once settled by public Authority, the quantity of Silver established under the several denominations should not be altered till there were an absolute necessity shown of such a change'. This presents the picture by Locke's view in which silver quantity indicates the means and measures to Commerce. Now it is the responsibility of the commonwealth to understand and act as a referee of economic transactions by fixing this measure and upholding it impartially.

Another side of the same coin to measure Mabo v Queensland's decision is the Locke's statement of justice which is the equal preservation of property so that poverty may be eliminated by placing all human beings under the law of nature. Of course bringing every one under the shelter of equality requires human beings to be independent of one another, thereby securing their reciprocal relationship because it is equally binding upon all human beings. In this light it can be said that the positive laws of a country serve to secure the reciprocal relationship of all of its subjects and among all of its citizens. Therefore the Mabo's decision in this context contradicts Locke's notion that a law is equality to secure human reciprocity.
The other part of the perspective which ...Show more


In order to understand what would be the decision of Locke if juxtaposed by the case Mabo v Queensland [No 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1, it is necessary to view his opinion starting with justice. According to Ian Harris, Locke's idea of justice simply suggests that the conformity between an action & the rule of propriety should be understood in the sense of 'a right to any thing' (Harris, 2000, p…
Author : berenice00
The Philosophy of John Locke essay example
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