The historical answer is often that natural resources came to be someone's property by force. This is a rather embarrassing fact for those who hope Nozick's theory will defend existing inequalities. Either the use of force made the initial acquisition illegitimate, in which case current title is illegitimate, and there is no moral reason why government should not confiscate the wealth and redistribute it. Or the initial use of force did not necessarily render the acquisition illegitimate, in which case using force to take property away from its current owners and redistribute is also not necessarily illegitimate. Either way, the fact that initial acquisition often involved force means that there is no moral objection within Nozick's framework to redistributing existing wealth. (Contemporary Political Philosophy, p.111)
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Libertarians for Confiscation of Property!
Note that, according to the libertarian entitlement theory, justice in initial acquisition is crucial. If I am not entitled to the resources I appropriate, then I cannot transfer that title to you. Without just initial acquisition, property rights are groundless. This spells trouble for our modern economy, as Kymlicka points out:
Posted by Richard Chappell at 9:44 pm