Nozick on Distributive Justice Essay

Words: 3145
Pages: 13

Justice Paper 2
-Ankur Shah

Nozick says that "liberty upsets patterns." Critically assess this claim. Be sure to: I. Explain what the quoted phrase means (what Nozick means by “liberty” and by “patterns”); II. Discuss how Rawls would respond to Nozick’s thesis; III. Explain whether Nozick is right that liberty upsets patterns; IV. If Nozick is right, then discuss whether such "upsetting" of patterns provides a sound reason for rejecting patterns, or for regulating liberty.

“Liberty upsets patterns”

In his book “Anarchy, state and utopia”, Nozick provides a moral defense for Libertarianism, which is traditionally defined as “the advocacy of individual liberty,
…show more content…
Since D1 distribution cannot be maintained as long as people have the right to do what they wish with their wealth, it would become necessary to restrict people from spending wealth based on their choice. This would infringe upon the rights of individuals.
It is clear that patterned society would not be able to maintain itself alongside liberty. As citizens are free to use their resources and wealth as they see fit in such a state, people with talent, or skills that are in greater demand, like Wilt Chamberlain’s talent in basketball, will be able to increase their wealth through their talent. An automatic transfer of wealth will occur towards these individuals with skills that are in demand, and thus causing the disturbance in the initial distribution. In order to restore the distribution, the government will have to redistribute the wealth which would violate the basic rights of self-ownership since wealth acquired through valid means, like Will Chamberlain’s money, would be taken away without compensation. Thus, it is impossible to redistribute wealth without infringing on the liberties which means that a liberty would necessarily upset a patterned state. Rawls and Nozick In his book, A Theory of Justice, Rawls argues for a patterned distributive justice with the belief that not knowing one’s own position in society would lead everyone to be concerned for equality. Thus, we should always be concerned about the