The libertarian formal self-ownership

The basic literature for the Political Philosophy course I’m taking consists of a book called “Contemporary Political Philosophy – An Introduction” by Will Kymlicka. By introduction the author means 430 pages of pure political/philosophical thought which is supposed to sink into our brains within a month. Chapter four is dedicated to Libertarianism, a right-wing political theory which steers up deep seated repugnant intuitions.

Then I come across a beautiful excerpt on page 124 about the insufficiency of having the libertarian (as in Nozick’s) formal self-ownership:

“No longer enslaved or made dependent by force of law, the great majority are so by force of poverty; they are chained to a place, to an occupation, and to conformity with the will of an employer, and debarred by the accident of birth both from the enjoyments, and from the mental and moral advantages, which others inherit without exertion and independently of desert. That this is an evil equal to almost any of those against which mankind have hitherto struggled, the poor are not wrong in believing. (Mill 1967: 710)”

Even if we don’t know wtf is formal self-ownership, libertarianism and the like, we understand the above at gut level.

Update: there is also Left Libertarianism, which I am not considering here.

PS: Este post vai em Inglês pelo fato de o livro ter sido escrito nessa língua e eu não querer fazer uma tradução livre preguiçosa.


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