„Ihr seid verloren, wenn ihr vergeßt, daß die Früchte allen gehören und die Erde niemandem“: Rousseaus Eigentumskonzeption,

In Bernd Ludwig & Andreas Eckl (eds.), Was ist mein? Beck. pp. 103-117 (2005)
Michaela Rehm
Universität Bielefeld
The paper is an analysis of Rousseau’s concept of property. It shows that Rousseau wants to draft a new system of politics that will not forbid private property but will limit its scale. It aims to clarify that Rousseau owes much to John Locke’s theory and even adopts Locke’s definition that it is a basic purpose of the social contract to protect the citizen’s property. It is argued that in spite of these similarities Rousseau’s account differs fundamentally from Locke’s. Having a right of ownership to something for Locke means to be entitled to exclude anybody else from it: to say “this is mine” in Locke is synonymous to “it is not yours”. For Rousseau having a right of ownership to something implies a self-limitation by the proprietor: to say “this is mine” in Rousseau signifies “everything else is not mine”. While property rights in Locke have the purpose of legitimizing “pleonexia” and economic inequality, Rousseau tries to use them as restrictions to citizens’ desires and greed.
Keywords property  appropriation  inequality  money  political philosophy  social contract
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