Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Enclosures & John Locke

CNC: Opponents of libertarianism love saying “What about the Indians?” They get excited at the thought that libertarians will be forced to defend the property rights of dispossessed native peoples, which a lot of libertarians would rather not do. What they don’t realize is that John Locke solved this problem three hundred years ago. Locke explained that

…the Benefit Mankind receives from [an acre of land in England], is worth 5 [pounds], [whereas the benefit from an acre of land in America] possibly not worth a Penny, if all the Profit an Indian received from it were to be valued, and sold here; at least, I may truly say, not 1/1000. ‘Tis Labour then which puts the greatest part of Value upon Land, without which it would scarcely be worth any thing…

ANDREW: Wait. Did Locke just start to suggest that since the Indians did not do efficient agriculture, they did not really own the land?

CNC: Exactly. To properly claim land, you have to do real economic work on the land, and the Indians did not do that because they were too primitive. So Locke proved that that the Indians did not own the land. That meant the settlers could treat the land as if it was unclaimed.


What he is saying is that Science applied as Technology determines both Power and Morality simultaneously, because they are the same thing. It all comes back to the enclosure movement in England, which was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, the crib of John Locke.

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