Self-ownership and the Lockean proviso

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):93-98 (2009)
Locke's defense of private property rights includes what is called a proviso— "the Lockean proviso"—and some have argued that in terms of it the right to private property can have various exceptions and it may not even be unjust to redistribute wealth that is privately owned. I argue that this cannot be right because it would imply that one's right to life could also have various exceptions, so anyone's life (and labor) could be subject to conscription if some would need it badly enough. Since this could amount to enslavement and involuntary servitude, it would be morally and legally unacceptable. Key Words: rights • John Locke • Lockean proviso • scarcity.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393108323472
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