Social Theory and Practice 31 (4):465-482 (2005)
|Abstract||In the longstanding debate between liberals and libertarians over the morality of redistributive labor taxation, liberals such as John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin have consistently taken the position that such taxation is perfectly compatible with individual liberty, whereas libertarians such as Robert Nozick and Murray Rothbard have adopted the (very) contrary position that such taxation is tantamount to slavery. I will demonstrate over the course of this paper that their debate over redistributive labor taxation can be usefully reconstituted as a debate over the incidents (or components) of self-ownership, with liberals making the case for a narrow definition of the concept and libertarians arguing for a broad one. By using what Alan Ryan has called the "language of proprietorship," we will be able to pinpoint the source of their disagreement and to assess the relative strengths of their arguments. We will also discover that the respective definitions of self-ownership used by liberals and libertarians are deeply problematic--though for entirely different reasons.|
|Keywords||self-ownership taxation libertarianism liberal egalitarianism|
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