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On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy$
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G. A. Cohen and Michael Otsuka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148700

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.001.0001

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Back To Socialist Basics

Back To Socialist Basics

Chapter:
(p.211) Chapter Ten Back To Socialist Basics
Source:
On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy
Author(s):

G. A. Cohen

, Michael Otsuka
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.003.0012

This chapter argues that to have money is (pro tanto) to have liberty. The richer you are, the more courses of action are open to you, which is to say that you are freer than you would otherwise be. Accordingly, whoever receives money as a result of redistribution thereby enjoys an enhancement of her liberty, albeit at the expense of the liberty of the person from whom it is taken, but with the net result for liberty as such entirely moot. Taxation restricts not liberty as such, but private property rights, both in external things and in one's own labor power. Whether or not such rights are deeply founded, it is ideological hocus-pocus to identify them with liberty as such, and it is entirely alien to traditional socialist belief so to construe them.

Keywords:   G. A. Cohen, political philosophy, taxation, liberty, equality, redistribution, private property rights

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