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The Myth of OwnershipTaxes and Justice$
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Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195150163.001.0001

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Economic Justice in Political Theory

Economic Justice in Political Theory

(p.40) 3 Economic Justice in Political Theory
The Myth of Ownership

Liam Murphy

Thomas Nagel (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Once we abandon the idea that justice in taxation is a matter of determining a fair share of tax burdens, we must ask what the legitimate ends of government are, and what the legitimate means of pursuing those ends are, particularly insofar as they involve the taxing power. Is the legitimate role of government limited to the provision of public goods, or does it include providing benefits for (worse-off) people and promoting equality of opportunity or welfare? Consequentialist and deontological theories of social justice provide importantly different approaches to these and other questions that stand behind tax policy--such as the moral standing of the market, the importance of individual responsibility, and the proper understanding of the moral value of liberty.

Keywords:   government, legitimacy, public goods, equality of welfare, equality of opportunity, consequentialism, deontology, market, responsibility, liberty

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