Coercion, Value and Justice: Redistribution in a Neutral State

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Abstract
I argue that a commitment to liberal neutrality, and an opposition to coercion, means that we ought to support a redistributive state in which wealth, insofar as it is instrumental in allowing us to pursue our ends, is equalised. This is due to the fact that any conception of justice and desert works in favour of some, but against others, and that those who lose out by any particular conception are likely not to consent to it (meaning that its imposition is coercive). As having some understanding of justice and desert is inescapable in a society, coercion is unavoidable. However, those who are harmed by the imposition of a certain conception of justice and desert deserve compensation for their foregone position in the alternate conceptions in which they would be better off. This compensation is owed by those who have benefitted from the existing conception of justice and desert.
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Archival date: 2021-01-07
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