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John Locke After 300 Years


  • Alvey, James E.


John Locke was a seminal figure in political philosophy and political economy and this year marks the tercentenary of his death. The paper focuses on the classical liberal interpretation of Locke. In this view, Locke defends individualism, natural rights (especially to property) and minimal government. After sketching this interpretation, I will present some extensions and applications of that interpretation. With this background in mind, I then turn to the views of critics who have claimed that Locke's individualism has been exaggerated and that Lockean rights are not absolute (they must be balanced against duties). Then I address the view of those who see Locke as a defender not of minimal government but of a more muscular (albeit limited) government. I then provide a brief conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvey, James E., 2004. "John Locke After 300 Years," Discussion Papers 23701, Massey University, Department of Applied and International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:masddp:23701
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.23701

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    Political Economy;


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