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Disproportional and Unequal Possession of the Earth


John Locke’s political philosophies have influenced a number of theories globally and have inspired many philosophers. His work was based mainly on the hypothesis of the social contract. He strongly suggested and believed that human nature was structured in a manner that allowed people to be selfish. This, according to Locke’s theory, makes sense considering his argument. However, his argument is highly debatable since it is a controversial perception and many philosophers, as well as enlightenment pioneers, would concur. This paper seeks to analyze John Locke’s passage at the end of the fifth chapter of his book to weigh the content of his concept.

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Disproportional and unequal possession of the earth through tacit and voluntary consent

Ideally, it is illogical to presume that men have settled for a disproportional and unequal possession of the earth through tacit and voluntary consent. Viewing this as the truth, the current wars of nations fighting each other even in the current civilized setting would be unheard-of. Locke argues that through money, men have found ways to allow others to possess legitimately more than they can use (Locke par. 4). According to him, this allows man to own property that goes to waste, which goes against his theory of private property. Locke’s theory with regard to personal property was that man should convert into the private property only what can be used without spoiling (Locke par. 4).

Although he makes sense when he says that man has created ways that fairly allow others to own more than they can use, his argument on this being voluntary consent is implausible. Political systems and modern civilization are responsible for creating the current political, economic, and social imbalances. In my opinion, the elite are the ones who have created systems that protect their interests while robbing the rights of ownership from the poor. Locke asserts that our bodies are our private property therefore everything we labor for becomes our personal property (Locke par. 4). To that extent, men have not agreed to a disproportional and equal possession of the earth rather their greed and selfishness have fostered this inequality.

Inequality imposed by the strong among men

The idea of the disproportional and unequal possession of the earth is a rigorous effort by the strongest among men. The imbalances created among us are a result of a few strong men and this category includes politicians, the royal families, and the local leaders. With the intrinsic human desire for an organized existence, leadership structures were formed. The people that were given the responsibility to lead the rest went ahead to create policies that protect their rights to own and acquire the common resources that were meant for the equal use of all. This way, the strong sidelined the weak hence the current political unrests all over the world. People are fighting for their fair share and position in the cruel world led by selfish political leaders.

Even in the places where such unrest is not imminent, the only difference is that the people in power have more strength to overpower the weaker population hence silencing them. Therefore, to promote a notion that they are content with the situation is abhorrently erroneous. The systems that have been laid politically have created instances where a man can own and possess more land than he can use but the moral ground of this situation is debatable.

No justification for possessing more wealth than one can use

Locke argues that men have created systems that can allow others to own more land than they can use without injury to anyone (Locke par. 2). This is true as far as money is concerned. In the current civilization, the purchase of land is only based on how much money one can pay for a piece of land that he/she wants to purchase. The government has the greater say in such deals and the exchange of wealth is always between the politically elite, the business tycoons, and the rich in the society. While other poor men are squeezing to share space in slums, the powerful tycoons are building mansions and big buildings for their own benefit. Therefore, there is no way to justify the current imbalance in private property ownership since the strong are still the ones in charge of making laws to protect their selfish gains.

Money as real wealth in goods and services

Owning more private property than one can use means he/she must have robbed the weaker man’s share. Only money can make this work hence it suffice to say that money represents real wealth in goods and services. Money has allowed the notion of fair possession of the unutilized private property. Those that own large tracks of land that are lying underutilized are justified by the fact that they have worked hard for it. According to Locke, our bodies, and their labor are rightfully our personal property (par 9). Therefore, according to current systems, money equals real wealth since it can buy you real possessions.

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The role of government

The government has to play an active role in protecting the interests of its people and reducing the gap between the rich and the poor. In most cases, all that is needed is the creation of the right environment for all to be able to create wealth for themselves. In addition to this, policies that govern the distribution of wealth must be formulated. The government can protect its citizens from the dire situation of disproportionate distribution of wealth through proper governance and protection of the poor. Distribution of national wealth with equity can be a starting point and this includes federal grants and reduction of taxes. Other ways include the provision of improved and affordable education systems and health facilities among other basic needs.


This paper has critically analyzed the philosophy of John Locke in order to identify and understand his ideology. In the paper, the notion that disproportional and unequal possession of the earth is out of voluntary consent has been opposed for varied reasons. The paper maintains that the imbalance has been created by the strongest among men at the expense of the week. This essay also outlines that there is no justification for owning more property/wealth than what an individual can utilize. Money has also been categorized as part of wealth since it is the instrument that humans have allowed as the point of exchange between goods and services. At the end of this paper, the clear roles of the government to protect its citizens from the impacts of the current imbalances have been outlined.


Locke, John. Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1999. Web.

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