Waste – John Locke writing in 1690

“But if they perished, in his possession, without their due use; if the fruit rotted, or the venison putrified, before he could spend it, he offended against the common law of nature, and was liable to be punished…if either the grass of his enclosure rotted on the ground, or the fruit of his planting perished without gathering, and laying up, this part of the earth, notwithstanding his enclosure, was still to be looked on as waste, and might be the possession of any other…He was only to look, that he used them before they spoiled, else he took more than his share, and robbed others. And indeed it was a foolish thing, as well as dishonest, to hoard up more than he could make use of. If he gave away a part to any body else, so that it perished not uselessly in his possession, these he also made use of. And if he also bartered away plums, that would have rotted in a week, for nuts that would last good for his eating a whole year, he did no injury; he wasted not the common stock; destroyed no part of the portion of goods that belonged to others, so long as nothing perished uselessly in his hands…the exceeding of the bounds of his just property not lying in the largeness of his possession, but the perishing of any thing uselessly in it.

John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (1690), v.37-38, 46″

Stuart T (2009) Waste, Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Penguin Books, London (p.xiv)

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