Marx's Critiques of Capitalism from Locke's Perspective

Published: 2022-12-09
Marx's Critiques of Capitalism from Locke's Perspective
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Law Society
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1397 words
12 min read

Locke was a philosopher in the late seventeenth century, and he wrote before the industrial revolution. Marx wrote when society was experiencing drastic change after the industrial revolution. Marx's critiques of capitalist society from Locke's perspective fail to separate them from ancient situations of their time. Marx's observations in regards to capitalism based on a specified place and time fail to manifest itself in today's world.

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His idea that capitalism exploits working people does not show the situation of high living standards experienced by people. The gap between the rich and the poor increases although Marx's critics on capitalism date back over 100 years. The assumption of a capitalist economic system resulting in huge working class exploitation becomes clear. For a long period, several scholars have different concepts in regards to capitalism and if it is of benefit to society. Individuals generally have diverse views in regards to whether a nation should have limited involvement of government in a free market economy. Capitalism thus has advanced positive and negative features.

This paper will examine the different assumptions of Marx and Locke views on property, capital, and labor concepts. The concepts used by both Marx and Locke to get different conclusions on similar subjects are worth investigating. Thorough scrutiny of the diverse ideas in regards to capital, labor, and property is essential in that Locke's and Marks political thoughts are generally considered to be crucial in the liberalism and communism political philosophy. Analysis of Marx's critiques of capitalist society from Locke's perspective allows remarkable replications on current capitalist society. Lack of awareness also leads to Methodical mistreatment of the working class and unequal property distribution.

Locke (2014) asserts that a man's property is inclusive of estates, lives, and liberty. The properties include what men have and also the goods they possess. Lock argues that men have preservation rights and what nature can afford for their general subsistence. Because of Locke passion on valuing of wealth, he made broad use of proficiency opinions in his political and economic writings. Justification of Locke in regards to private property considered as natural right displays a vital role in the state of nature portrayal.

Locke argues that initially the world belongs to everybody, but in general, any individual is allowed to take a portion of the collective property and own it. Locke believes that God has given generally the world to men in common and has given them a purpose to make good use of it. Locke use of the word in common might initially suggest common property elements in communist societies, which are primitive. Locke's idea to remove the property rights in natural law was considered a vital device for stating the individual rights against the state. Locke's stance on private property had flaws, but the criticism was within the liberal philosopher context.

On the contrary, Locke's presentation means ownership absence. Thus, his explanation fails to define a diverse form of societal organization. Ownership absence makes his discussion to focus on organization absence before the civil society formation. In regards to private property, Locke contributes hugely to economic theory and thus conveys the labor theory of value. His approach provides the foundation of the established political economy generally becoming a significant component of other methods. The methods are by renowned economists including David Ricardo.

Locke intentions to demonstrate individual moral right exhibits the development of the labor theory of value. According to Locke, when an individual picks an apple from a tree, he also becomes the owner of the land. In this situation, the labor theory of value validates the man's ownership solely on the product of his labor but not on the production means. Locke exhibits his reasoning of property acquisition overwork to the land. In his explanation, he asserts that the size of the ground a man tills, improves, plants, and cultivates his individual property. Locke says that labor puts the value variance on everything.

In terms of private property, Marx criticized Locke's explanation of natural rights. Marx asserts that freedoms which are specifically political as expressed in 1789 French doctrine in regards to man's power are inconsistent in diverse ways related to each other. Marx argues that all the rights fail to have equal importance but have a hierarchy in them. According to Marx, the property right is a primary constraint on all other rights. For an individual to get property right, one must have the property in possession failure to which the power automatically becomes fictitious and hollow.

For an individual to protect his rights, he must admit materialistic goals as his private goals. If an individual gives a higher preference towards other purposes, the vulnerability on own rights attack becomes higher. Therefore, Marx explains that other rights agree in totality as compliant to the property right. If there exist laws in regards to the protection of property rights, then equality laws without property cannot exist. Marx idea explains that lack of labor possessions leads to lacking power.

By measuring individuals who are unequal as the same gauge, fails to change the idea that unbalanced are generally not equal. The concept of equality thus is an inequality right in its content. According to Marx, Locke is unable to identify the actual linkage between private property and wage labor leading to capitalist system rationalization.

According to Marx, Locke failed to differentiate between living labor and accumulated labor. This failure is because he was not able to identify diverse property owners. Marx urged that there is no entire property right as explained by Locke. All the property associations in the past years have generally been subject to historical change. Marx and Engels (1848) explain that the capitalist contains two types of property owners generally referred to us as proletariat and bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie owns the money, production means, and subsistence means. They are generally eager to sum the appropriated values by purchasing other individual labor powers. Proletariats refer to free workers who sell their power of labor. Locke exhibits the part of natural law is inherent in the determination of society laws.

The free workers are free from production means unlike the slaves generally who enjoins production means despite the failure to own the means of production. The arguments according to Marx conclude the unavoidable revolution in regards to the proletariat and the bourgeoisie fall and the ensuing communism rise. The real liberty and freedom of proletariat can accomplish private property appropriateness meaning that conventional production and making it property, which is commonly owned by everybody in the society. The situation is comparable to the first period of the part of the nature of Locke predictions.

Locke assumes that everything is a property, which is common as given by God. The unique communism feature is generally not property abolition but bourgeois property abolition. Marks discussion thus exhibits that no individual is deprived power by communism to appropriate the social products, but it deprives a person to exercise power to conquer other labor by appropriation means.

In conclusion, Locke and Marx have a lot to disagree with regards to property, capital, and labor. Locke considers that employment offers concrete property foundation leading to private property and capital creation. Locke discusses the economic activity aim from an individual's wealth. Marx agrees with Locke solely in a situation where the excess value subsequent from free labor brings the aspect of private property in regards to the bourgeoisie. Marx criticizes Lock for failure to identify the variances in property owners, capital, and labor. The idea consequently leads to misinterpretation of the effects of wage labor and capitalist society justification.

Marx justifies that private property fails to be considered as human life natural consequences. The differences between Marx and Locke ideas are that the society models are different in their thoughts and they attempt to confirm through their opinions. Marx has a correctly right, direct result, which originates from production mode. The differences between Marx and Locke identify in their outlooks in regards to the rationalization of dominant systems. Marx general purpose is to endorse a society, which is unparalleled through revolution. Marx generally would experience frustrations since that communism failed against capitalism in the present day. On the contrary, Locke generally would have agreed in regards to the direction of representative democracy in the present day.


Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1848). The communist manifesto. London: Pelican Books.

Locke, J. (2008). Second Treatise of Government, ed. Routledge: Jonathan Bennett.

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