John Locke wrote that unilateral appropriation is acceptable if “enough and as good” is left for others. This paper argues that the two most popular interpretations of this “proviso” are inadequate, and puts forward a new reading. On the proposed view, Locke’s proviso protects people against a problematic kind of subjection that appropriation makes possible. The paper then asks what must be true if such non-subjection is to obtain in an advanced economy, arguing that it requires a set of labor market opportunities that is robust against others setting the terms of one’s employment. When we enjoy such opportunities, we enjoy something as good as “enough and as good.”
About Bas van der Vossen
Bas van der Vossen is Associate Professor in the Smith Institute of Political Economy and Philosophy, and the Philosophy Department at Chapman University. His research focusses on questions in political philosophy, in particular the ethics of international affairs and the Lockean theory of property rights. He’s the co-author, with Fernando Tesón, of Debating Humanitarian Intervention (OUP, 2017) and Global Justice as Global Freedom with Jason Brennan (OUP, forthcoming), and has co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism. He has published articles in The Journal of Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy and Policy, and Law and Philosophy, among others, and is currently an Associate Editor of Social Philosophy and Policy. He holds a DPhil from Oxford University.