Free Thesis Statement About Effect Of Property On A Society
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Locke in ‘The Second Treatise of Government’ fundamentally argues that all people are equal and have the natural rights to live free. Locke says that natural law ought to be allowed to take its course to govern people’s behavior while individuals have the power to execute the law to those that infringe on their rights or wrong them. Sovereignty is placed on peoples’ hands to build a society where the people select an executive power that is mandated to protect their liberties and property. Candide by Voltaire is an account of Candide’s life in the unjust world. The end of Candide’s life in the castle is the inevitable start of a life of disillusionments and hardships in his attempt to live a meaningful life against the oppressive nature of his world. The two texts portray contrasting societies. Locke’s society is just and has a predictable future while Voltaire’s is corrupt, greed driven and unjust. While some similarities between Locke’s and Voltaire’s view of effect of property on a society are noticeable, the differences are salient.
The society Candide lives in is a society where wealthy people have power to oppress the less fortunate(Voltaire, 1959). When Candide falls in love with Cunegonde, the girl’s father disapproves of the relationship. What follows is Candide’s eviction from the castle. Candide’s later conscription in the military against his wishes indicates how the poor have no liberty in this society. Cunegonde’s father, Boron, has vast properties and with it comes power and influence. Had Candide been wealthy too, he would be in a position to fight back and stand for what is right. Property gives one power in Candide’s society and the power in turn is used to exploit the vulnerable poor individuals.On the contrary, Locke’s society is depicted as a society where natural law dictates what is right or wrong. Despite being wealthy, everyone in this society is subject to the same laws. It is a society where by natural reason the world is a property for all to use for their benefit and survival. Individuals with vast wealth have no mandate to oppress the poor nor do they have moral superiority to dictate what is right or wrong(Locke, 1980).
Being wealthy in Candide’s society is viewed as fulfilling the ultimate goal in life. This notion leads the people into greediness, contention and quarrels. This is because money can by almost everything including freedom and love. Cunegonde loves Candide but due to Governor Don Fernando’s influence, wealth and power, she marries the governor instead of Candide. When Candide acquires wealth, buys the freedom of Pangloss(Voltaire, 1959). This is an indication that in this society the ultimate goal is to have property so that one gets access to a majority of things. This in turn creates a greedy society as people compete for the scarce property while the less fortunate remain at the receiving end. On the other hand, the society illustrated by Locke is one in which a person is not allowed to have the right to own property in excess. This is because some will remain unexploited and somebody else could have benefitted from it. One is not allowed to overextend the natural acquisition rights(Locke, 1980). The amount one should own is determined by the amount one labor input while at the same time not infringing on the rights of others.
In a society where success is determined through how much property one has, degradation of social norms and morals becomes imminent. The society lacks the social framework that guides people’s behaviors. When Candide and his fellow sailors are hit by a vicious storm in a harbor in Lisbon, their boat is wrecked. The sailor instead of helping the drowning Jacques and the injured Candide opts to free so that he can loot property in the rubble(Voltaire, 1959). This is a society of hypocrisy where inhumane acts are perpetrated by greedy individuals in attempt to amass wealth for themselves. Very few people are willing to go an extra mile to protect the basic human rights of other at the expense of not gaining wealth. In contrast the society in ‘The Second Treatise of Government’ is a society where social norms and morality come ahead of monetary property. Locke acknowledges that goods are perishable. In addition social agreement should precede trade(Locke, 1980). The authority is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the unlimited right to own property.
According to Locke, property is a means to satisfaction. Locke(1980), argues that labor added to nay property, be it land or construction, the owner expects returns proportional to the labor inputThis society has been positively influenced by property in that people are coming together to exchange goods and services fairy for the benefit of all parties. The wealthy with massive land under development are paying the laborers fairly for the services rendered. The fruits of that land belong to the land owner only since the laborers have been compensated for their services. In this process no one violates the natural law. Candide’s society, however, has members who use the property they have for all the negative reason. Property has changed the society to accommodate slavery, stealing, corruption and theft. Even so these deeds are not punished. Instead of property owners hiring laborers for a contracted payment services, they buy slaves and for them to work on their property(Voltaire, 1959).
In a society where every man is for himself, few resources are left for communal development. The authority is characterized with rampant corruption since even the individuals in the authority are in the business of wealth amassing. Social amenities such as health facilities become less equipped to handle health issues in the society. This is the society depicted by Voltaire in his book ‘Candide’. Pangloss acquires syphilis from Paquette and lives with the disease for a considerable long time. The disease coupled with the fact that Pangloss is at the moment in a financial shortage, is not able to access medical services(Voltaire, 1959). Therefore, property in this society has resulted into a capitalism society where few resources are set aside for public development. However, Locke portrays a society in which the people have collective sovereignty which gives the public to appoint an authority to manage public resources. It is a society where the people are organized and pool the resources they own for a collective benefit. The government takes care of interests of all members of the society regardless of the amount of property or wealth one has.
Another difference that is evident from the two books is the effect of property on the worth and personality of a person. Cungonde’s brother objects her marriage to Candide simply because he has no material items to offer her. This move angers Candide who ends up killing Cungonde’s brother after a fight. Lack of property has made the poor members of Candide’s society desperate and develop a mentality of being inferior. Paquette has no hope of a successful future and has developed an inferior personality complex and becomes vulnerable to exploitation by the wealthy members of the society. She cannot engage in a meaningful economic activity and engages in prostitution. In contrast to the society depicted by Voltaire, Locke’s society is one which encourages its members to own property and build wealth progressively. According to the law of subsistence, no one in this society has a right to have more property than they can use(Locke, 1980). Recourses are well distributed in the society and every member has an almost equal opportunity to develop.
Despite the many differences on the effect of property on a society illustrated by the two books, there are some noticeable similarities. Property is a factor that can bring unity among people. Towards the end Candide purchases a farm which he lives with his wife Cunegonde, Brother Giroffee, Paquette and the old woman(Voltaire, 1959). Were it not for the fact that Candide has a property these old friends could not have found a place to stay together and enjoy the company of each other. It is a commendable plan for them to stay together though to some extent it is due to necessity for each has a task to do in the farm. In the same way, members of the society depicted in ‘The Second Treatise of Government’ join hands to protect their unlimited rights of property(Locke, 1980). In addition a government that fails in protecting the peoples’ right of property is subject to being overthrown by the society. This shows the property is a means through which people come together for different courses.
With determination and resolve towards attaining success, it is possible for an individual to get property. This is a view shared by both writers. When Candide and his servant Cacambo arrive in El Dorado, they find a city which is immensely rich. Within a period of one month they have accumulated a lot of wealth in terms of money and provisions(Voltaire, 1959). Locke also shows how a determined individual can easily acquire property and get massive wealth. An individual’s own body is the first property that one has. To get wealthy, one has to word and get paid for the labor provided. Also one can pick items that no other person claims ownership. Through this type acquisition one can accumulate as many things as one can put to use. Nevertheless, having too much would lead to wastage(Locke, 1980). Both books illustrate the effect of property to a society in that a society’s determination to get property is the measure of how much it can accumulate.
In conclusion it is evident that ‘The Second Treatise of Government’ and ‘Candide’ illustrate many contrasting effects of property on a society. The differences are brought about by the difference in the setup of the two societies. Voltaire writes about a society that lacks social frameworks and a stable political climate that can ensure equality in property distribution. It’s a society marred by wars and contest between individuals for the available resources. Locke’s society on the other hand has social and political structure to maintain order in property acquisition and retention. The right of property are protected by a government that is put in place by the same subjects is governs. Notwithstanding the people put the government in place, they have the right and power to dissolve it if it does not perform its duties accordingly. However, the two societies are affected in similar ways by property. For instance, property brings members of these societies together and encourages unity. Property gives identity and a sense of belonging to a society.
Locke, J. (1980). Second Treatise of Government (1690).Ed. CB Macpherson. Indianapolis: Hackett.
Voltaire (1959) . Bair, Lowell, ed. Candide. Translated by Lowell Bair ; New York: Bantam Dell
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