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Title: Risk and the Libertarian Case for Redistribution
Author(s): HAINES, Jeffrey
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 25    Issue: 3   Date: 2018   
Pages: 497-516
DOI: 10.2143/EP.25.3.3285427

Abstract :
In the present contribution I argue three things. First, political libertarians should think that it is wrong to create a risk of non-negligible harm for non-consenting others. Second, that in order to secure consent to being placed at risk, we will have to make compensatory payments to those we put at risk. Third, since such a system of payments would be highly impractical, and would require an enormously intrusive bureaucracy to enforce, libertarians should instead prefer a generalized system of redistribution. Such a system would base receipt of payments not on need, but on exposure to risk, and would require greater payments not from the wealthier, per se, but from those who create more risk for other people. In general, however, to the extent that wealthier people create more risk for the poor than vice versa (e.g. the driver of the car creates a bigger risk for the pedestrian than the pedestrian does for the driver of the car), such redistributive payments will match up with more standard notions of welfare. If this is right, then considerations of risk imply that libertarians should support a fairly robust redistributive state.

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