Why Free Market Rights are not Basic Liberties

Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):47-67 (2015)

Authors
Justin Bernstein
Johns Hopkins University
Chris Melenovsky
Suffolk University
Abstract
Most liberals agree that governments should protect certain basic liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the person. Liberals disagree, however, about whether free market rights should also be protected. By “free market rights,” we mean those rights typically associated with laissez-faire economic systems such as freedom of contract, a right to market returns, and claims to privately own the means of production.We do not use the phrase “economic liberties,” as Tomasi does, because it does not distinguish between the “economic rights” defended by classical liberal and those defended by socialists. Those on the right often see such freedoms as core liberal commitments, while those on the left argue that an economic system should be organized to protect the interests of the less advantaged members of society. If free market rights should be protected, then most existing societies are unjust. These societies fail the liberal standard in the same ways as th ..
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DOI 10.1007/s10790-014-9450-0
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