Libertarianism vs. marxism: Reflections on G. A. Cohen's self-ownership, freedom and equality [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Ethics 2 (1):1-26 (1998)
Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality is G.A. Cohens attempt to rescue something of the socialist outlook on society from the challenge of libertarianism, which Cohen identifies with the work of Robert Nozick in his famous book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Sympathizing with the leading idea that a person must belong to himself, and thus be unavailable for forced redistribution of his efforts, Cohen is at pains to reconcile the two. This cannot be done – they are flatly contrary. Moreover, equality is a nonsense principle, calling for such things as equal distribution of natural resources. But resources, as goods, are not natural: all require work to utilize. The only thing exchanged on markets is services, and estimates of value received are relevantly made only by those party to the exchanges in question. Imposition from above on voluntary exchange can only be socially counterproductive.
|Keywords||autonomy equality freedom liberty Lockean Proviso negative rights positive rights private property self-ownership socialism|
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Karl Widerquist (2010). The Physical Basis of Voluntary Trade. Human Rights Review 11 (1):83-103.
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