Freedom, Self-ownership, and Equality in Steiner’s Left-Libertarianism

RONEN SHNAYDERMAN
POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY & ECONOMICS 12.3 (2012): 219-227

Abstract: Hillel Steiner’s left-libertarian theory of justice is the most serious recent attempt to reconcile the ideals of (luck-egalitarian) equality and freedom. This attempt consists in an argument that a universal right to equal freedom, which in Steiner’s view means also a universal right to maximal freedom, implies a universal right to self-ownership and to an egalitarian share of the world’s natural resources. In this article, the author argues that this argument fails on Steiner’s own terms. It is argued that, on Steiner’s conceptions of freedom, self-ownership, and an egalitarian share of the world’s natural resources, insofar as the right to equal freedom implies the right to self-ownership and to an egalitarian share of the world’s natural resources, it is incompatible with (luck-egalitarian) equality.