The Question of Fulfilment
This chapter assesses issues of fulfilment, such as why subjects ought to bear the costs of their state's debts and reparative obligations. There are two common answers to this question. According to the authorization account of distribution, subjects should bear the costs if they have authorized the state, such as by accepting its protection. According to the participation account, subjects should bear the costs if they have participated in the state, such as by voting or using public services. The problem with both of these accounts is that they cannot justify distributing liability across generations. The chapter develops a Hobbesian account of distribution that explains why subjects who are neither authors nor participants should nevertheless be liable for acts of state. The central idea is 'authorization by fiction', which is based on Thomas Hobbes' idea of 'representation by fiction'. Much as guardians authorize representatives for wards, subjects authorize representatives for the people among them and after them — children and future subjects — who are incapable of authorizing representatives on their own. Authorization by fiction gives the young and the unborn a vicarious 'presence' in the state's actions, which renders them liable for the costs of discharging the state's responsibilities.
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