David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Samuel Scheffler (ed.), Consequentialism and its Critics. Oxford University Press (1988)
The night-watchman state of classical liberal theory, limited to the functions of protecting all its citizens against violence, theft, and fraud, and to the enforcement of contracts, and so on, appears to be redistributive.1 We can imagine at least one social arrangement intermediate between the scheme of private protective associations and the night-watchman state. Since the nightwatchman state is often called a minimal state, we shall call this other arrangement the ultraminimal state. An ultraminimal state maintains a monopoly over all use of force except that necessary in immediate selfdefence, and so excludes private (or agency) retaliation for wrong and exaction of compensation; but it provides protection and enforcement services only to those who purchase its protection and enforcement policie., People who don't buy a protection contract from the monopoly don't get protected. The minimal (night-watchman) state is equivalent to the ultraminimal state conjoined with a (clearly redistributive) Friedmanesque voucher plan, financed from tax revenues.2 Under this plan all people, or some (for example, those in need), are given tax-funded vouchers that can be used only for their purchase of a protection policy from the ultraminimal state.
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