Two children are fighting over the possession of a flute.

  1. A has made the flute
  2. B is simply very poor and has no other toys to play.

In this case, who will get the possession of the flute - A or B?

As per John Locke, in his 2 Treatise of Government has written the one who has created the thing will own that thing. However, he has also said that "one can only take as much possession of property as would ensure that everyone else also has enough common property"

Though I believe that A should get the flute because he has created it. However, considering the land re-distribution in India, the second one is also right.

Hence, who should get the flute?

  • 2
    John Locke is not a source of law in India, and at Law.SE was answer questions about what the law is (A gets the flute under the law of India BTW), and not what the law should be. Politics.SE addresses what the law should be in light of political theory like Locke. Although a parent or teacher is more likely to resolve the question than a court and might not follow the law. – ohwilleke Aug 24 '20 at 21:16
  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because it belongs at Politics.SE – ohwilleke Aug 24 '20 at 21:29
  • @ohwilleke part of it, yes, and some belongs on philosophy but the legal question is answerable – Dale M Aug 24 '20 at 21:51
  • This question was asked in my property law subject in a class discussion. Sorry couldn't figure it out if it was on the politics side. – Vishesh Mangla Aug 25 '20 at 15:23
  • note that the common property Locke talks about is land not items made. Locke deemed it necessary that people could stake off common land (the commons) for themselves, as long as enough commons remained. – Trish Sep 18 '20 at 21:20



Exceptions include:

  • A didn’t own the materials from which the flute was made; the flute belongs to the material’s owner.
  • A made the flute under a contract of employment; the flute belongs to A’s employer.
  • A has sold the flute before making it; the flute belongs to the buyer.

This is not only the law in but pretty much everywhere in the world.

If you want to ask about redistributive justice or taxation/welfare; please post the question on our sister sites philosophy or politics.

  • 2
    Relevant to the OP, it is also significant that no statute takes the flute from A because B has a greater need. Compare that lacuna to the Kerala land redistribution laws. – user6726 Aug 24 '20 at 22:38
  • Thanks, for the answer. But, if I take probably as yes(i.e., not including the exceptions) what evidences from John Locke's theories outweigh the other one? Please link some references if possible. – Vishesh Mangla Aug 25 '20 at 13:52
  • @VisheshMangla John Locke is a philosopher - his theories are not (necessarily) the basis of any laws – Dale M Aug 25 '20 at 20:30
  • @DaleM This question was asked in my property law subject in a class discussion. Sorry couldn't figure it out if it was on the politics side. If something like this comes in one of the exams surely I can't answer like it is philosophy. Also aren't laws proposed on the philosophy of someone? Many people's philosophies after negotiations turn into law. But now a days most laws are enacted due to protests by people. – Vishesh Mangla Aug 26 '20 at 3:45
  • Here I want to outweigh one of the theories/philosophy of John Locke over the other.That's the goal.Please tell if the question is not in accordance to the goal. – Vishesh Mangla Aug 26 '20 at 3:52

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