Three Types of Sufficientarian Libertarianism

Res Publica 25 (3):301-318 (2019)
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Sufficientarian libertarianism is a theory of justice that combines libertarianism’s focus on property rights and non-interference with sufficientarianism’s concern for the poor and needy. Persons are conceived as having stringent rights to direct their lives as they see fit, provided that everyone has enough to live a self-guided life. Yet there are different ways to combine libertarianism and sufficientarianism and hence different types of sufficientarian libertarianism. In the article I present and discuss three types, and I argue that the last one overcomes the problems of the other two. The first type combines libertarianism with a sufficiency principle in what is sometimes called the ‘ethics of distribution’. The second incorporates modest welfare rights into a libertarian theory of justice. The third endorses a sufficientarian Lockean proviso for practices of private property within a libertarian theory of justice. I argue that it is superior to the others.



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Fabian Wendt
Virginia Tech

Citations of this work

Thresholds in Distributive Justice.Dick Timmer - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (4):422-441.
Justice, Thresholds, and the Three Claims of Sufficientarianism.Dick Timmer - 2022 - Journal of Political Philosophy 30 (3):298-323.
Moral Uncertainty and Distributive Sufficiency.Michael Bukoski - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (4):949-963.

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