An ongoing tension exists within the Lockean tradition in political philosophy between the claim that each individual is the “Proprietor of his own Person” and the claim that nature is “that which God gave to Mankind in common.” The former claim points to a realm of discrete individual entitlements only formally equal in the sense of each individual having jurisdiction over his own person and not over any other person, while the latter points either to a collective entitlement to nature or to individual entitlements to substantively equal shares of nature. Were the two realms, that of persons and that of extra-personal nature, separate and independent, no tension would arise from the union of these two claims. But the realms are manifestly interconnected. Individuals acquire, use, labor upon, invest their time and energy on, and transform, more or less in accordance with their purposes, elements of extra-personal nature. And Locke and his followers believe that at least certain of these interactions with segments of nature give rise to individual property rights to the segments thereby appropriated, labored upon, transformed, or whatever. The traditional bridging notion is each person's right to his own labor which is seen as part of each person's proprietorship over himself. According to this tradition, if the right of each individual over his own person is to be respected, individual titles to appropriated, labored upon, or transformed nature must also be respected.
The task for anyone seeking to embrace all the strands within this Lockean heritage is to reconcile, a) this right to one's own labor and the (or some) system of private property rights tied to it (which system will include historical entitlement principles for legitimating later property configurations) plus the right of self-ownership (or some equivalent) which lies behind the right to one's own labor, with b) some distributionist ideal, at least with regard to natural resources.