By Gregory Gull (auth.)
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Seemingly Locke’s morality was a morality of wealth, as he believed it was humankind’s purpose to gain property and generate wealth. Further, Locke argued that since Nature held more than what humankind can ever acquire, the threat of there not being enough to make every individual happy was non-existent. not by the greatest good in view but by the most pressing uneasiness. We lack something and we are uneasy, and it is this uneasiness which determines our will’ (Aaron, A Historical Perspective 23 1971, p.
In this Lockeian view, control lies in the power of an external authority to provide the force or stimulus that causes people, under the power of the hierarch, to do as directed. The managerial mechanisms of motivation – the stimuli available – include: numerical goals, promise and threat of rewards/ punishments. Accordingly the terms of the contract between the enterprise and its employees are based on either or both of the following arrangements, if you do this then I will give you that or if you fail to do this then I will withhold that.
As Rifkin described, Locke believed ‘since money cannot possibly spoil, it is impossible to possess too much of it’ (1989, p. 40). Hence, it is with Locke that we find the seed of the commonly held objective of increasing wealth accumulation. Unfortunately – likely because he had expunged the will from individual action and defined life materially – Locke could not envision the possibility that, while money itself would not spoil, unfettered single-minded pursuit of it could spoil the productive unfolding of the human spirit.