Distributive justice: Nozick on property rights

Ethics 87 (2):142-149 (1977)
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According to robert nozick's theory of distributive justice, We are forced to choose between a commitment to the kantian principle that no one may be used as a means to the purposes of others and the socialist view that the benefits of land and natural resources should be distributed on the basis of an end-State standard of equity. However, We face no such dilemma. A careful look at nozick's argument reveals that the kantian imperative does not clearly entail the right of individuals to own land and natural resources. Indeed a very plausible application of the imperative is compatible with the doctrine that land and resources are communal property. Therefore, Nozick's theory fails to justify economic distributions produced by a system in which natural resources are privately owned



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