Public goods and the paying public

Journal of Business Ethics 14 (2):117 - 123 (1995)
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Abstract
This paper proposes a way to undercut anarchist objections to taxation without endorsing an authoritarian justification of government coercion. The argument involves public goods, as understood by economists and others. But I do not analyse options of autonomous prisoners and the like; for, however useful otherwise, these abstractions underestimate the real-world task of sorting out the prerogatives of and limits on ownership. Proceeding more contextually, I come to recommend a shareholder addendum to the doctrine of public goods. This recommendation involves modifying the public goods argument for government coercion to include a contributor-specific compensation provisio, thinking of contributors as investors, and including among the latter those whose investment is in the form not of a market transaction strictly speaking but of sacrifice. To reach this recommendation I constrain the market liberal''s limited endorsement of taxation by drawing on the (idealized) postcommunist privatizer''s continuing commitment to populism.
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