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Aristotle and Locke Comparative Discussion on Property

The third form involves the objects of subsistence-centered property acquisition, but in the mode of exchange-related acquisition. It is "intermediate between the first and second," says Aristotle, and "is concerned with things extracted from the earth [metals] or with products of the earth which bear no fruit but are still of use [trees used for timber]" (Aristotle 30). This third mode is a distinction from that Barker finds "difficult" to accept (32); however, if the third mode is compared to what might today be called industrial production, then Aristotle's categories would appear to make sense.

Aristotle appears to deplore, in the household environment, the focus on exchange or money-centered property acquisition, saying that desire for unlimited wealth derives from anxiety about livelihood rather than about basic well-being (26). On the other hand, at the end of Chapter XI, Aristotle implies that property acquisition for public purposes has instrumental political value. He cites "knowledge" of "methods" of making money can be useful to states, which "are often in want of financial resources and in need of more ways of gaining them" (Aristotle 31). In any event, currency is a convention of exchange having no natural exchange value of itself but achieving value, by way of the agreement among parties, whether households or states, of the utility of the exchange convention. Accordingly, usury, which makes money from money, is considered the "most unnatural" mode of acquisition. According to Barker, Aristotle's attitude derives partly from a commercial environment favoring Athenian control of merchant shipping and banking (29).

Locke structures his argument about property that seems consistent with, although not identical to, Aristotle's. Where Aristotle refers to the behavior of property "art of acquisition," however, Locke focuses on reason as the basis for discussing how the very concept of private property as a matte...

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Aristotle and Locke Comparative Discussion on Property. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:04, November 27, 2015, from
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