Locke and Economic Justice
35 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 7 Apr 2010
Date Written: March 31, 2010
I argue that Locke meant the Second Treatise to show three things: how both property rights and charity claims derive from the same source; how these distinct, semi-autonomous value domains can come into conflict with each other; and how man can adjudicate those conflicts (and others) in the democratic legislature. Locke argued for social values that were just as important as property rights, and could trump rights in certain instances. In our modern disputes over regulation and taxation, we would do well to remember that one important forebear was not a partisan of any particular class, but a theorist of the overall social good.
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