John Locke's theory of property has been the subject of sustained contention between two major perspectives: a socioeconomic perspective, which conceives Locke's thought as an expression of the rising bourgeois sensibility and a defense of the nascent capitalist relations, and a theological perspective, which prioritizes his moral worldview grounded in the Christian natural law tradition. This essay argues that a closer analysis of Locke's theory of money in the Second Treatise can provide an alternative to this binary. It maintains that the notion of money comprises a conceptual area of indeterminacy in which the theological universals of the natural law and the historical fact of capital accumulation shade into each other. More specifically, the ambiguity of the status of money enables Locke to navigate an antinomy within the natural law such that he establishes a relation of necessity between the divine telos and accumulative practices.
John Locke, property, capitalism, economics, liberalism, money, natural law, theology, morality
Review of Politics
University of Notre Dame
INCE, Onur Ulas.(2011). Enclosing in God’s Name, Accumulating for Mankind: Money, Morality, and Accumulation in John Locke’s Theory of Property. Review of Politics, 73(1), 29-54.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/1996
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