Jan 15, Otto Lehto rated it it was amazing Steiner's book is a tour de force of political philosophy.
It is the most systematic treatise written from the left-libertarian position, according to which extensive individual liberty and an equal appropriation of natural resources should go hand in hand: It draws radical conclusions from the equal freedom principle, according to which the freedom of each individual should be constrained by the equal freedom of everybody else.
This synthesizes into a powerful and iconoclastic argument about the nature of justice. The book challenges the reader through its plus pages to rethink some of the fundamental questions around rights, duties, liberty, morality, economics and redistribution.
Each section contains something fascinating to take away from it. For example, the early chapters introduce the Leibnizian concept of "compossibility", which has become a key concept in legal philosophy.
Steiner argues that in order for rights to be sufficiently robust "vested"they need to be distributed in a way that each right can co-exist with all the other rights. It is embedded into an argument about the way nature should be sliced into spatio-temporal spheres of action in the form of property rights.
Without compossible property rights, people are said to have no real rights. Anybody who appropriates more than his or her fair share i.
The allocation of the spatiotemporal spheres of action in the form of property rights, Steiner argues, should attempt to institutionalize the equal co-ownership of nature married with a libertarian system of rights.
It should thus attempt to institutionalize the abolition of theft and the securing of equal freedom. Outside of the main argument, there are also plenty of more minor shocks for the careless reader. Please bring your own body bag in case you drop dead from astonishment.
Even more scandalously, he argues for the inclusion of genetic information into the commonly owned part of the world, and thus for the taxation of the parents of genetically well-endowed children. His argument, in these sections and others, are persuasive.
Even if you do not end up following him all the way to the dire conclusion, you will wake up a different wo man. The writing style is a bit dry, despite the occasional joke and witticism. The contents are likely to be unpalatable to both sides of the political spectrum: The method is uncool: Utilitarians, Rawlsians and Marxists are unlikely to jump on board - especially since the conclusions to be drawn are, for most people, outlandish.
But the overall project is inspiring as well as innovative. The notion that compossibility is a necessary condition for any system of rights seems unassailable.
The Georgist challenge to the right-libertarian approach to the appropriation of natural resources seems hard to refute. All libertarians who want to believe in the equal freedom of all individuals need to incorporate resource equality into their own doctrines.
Whether one ever ends up harpooning Moby Dick or not, the outrageous insights contained in the various sections of the journey more than justify the dangers of falling head first into the dark waters of the abyss.Left-Libertarianism and the Ownership of Natural Resources To start off: Why should libertarians be bothered about, specifically, rights to natural resources?[1.
Hillel Steiner says that his Essay on Rights will answer the first question, in the process showing that the second has no answer (1). The book ends by saying, ‘I’ve offered no reasons as to why we should be just.
This book addresses the perennial question: What is justice? Jan 01, · An Essay On Rights has 5 ratings and 2 reviews. Otto said: Steiner's book is a tour de force of political philosophy. It is the most systematic treatise /5. Hillel Steiner is a Canadian living in England where he teaches political philosophy at the University of Manchester.
He has contributed articles on liberty, rights and moral reasoning to various philosophy, politics and economics journals and collections, and is a member of the editorial boards of Ethics and Social Philosophy & Policy. Jan 01, · Hillel Steiner departs from this approach: he seeks an answer through an exploration of the nature of rights.
People standardly express their demands for justice in terms of rights, the items created and parceled out by just principles/5.