Robert Nozick's Entitlement Theory Analysis

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Robert Nozick was a pupil of Rawls and rejected his teacher’s insistence on the need for governmental intervention in order to achieve a redistribution of wealth. In his book, Anarchy, State and Utopia, he said that a just society is the one based on individualism. The natural rights of the individual are to be considered inviolable, and each person may enjoy those rights subject only to certain moral side restraints concerning the rights of others. He proposes a “minimal State” whose functions are limited to the “night-watchman” protection against force, theft, and fraud, the enforcement of contracts, and a few other essentials. In a word, it is a state dedicated only to be the protection of property rights and the enforcement of fair exchanges.…show more content…
The theory, from which stems his conception of justice, is a narrow one that is grounded in the non-violation of property rights. The theory is bases on three sets of principles. First is principles of acquisition, which determine the circumstance under which persons are able to acquire ownership of previously unowned resources. That is, a possession is justly held if it was acquired in a just fashion, without the violation of another’s self-ownership. Second is the principle of transfer. They determine the methods by which the ownership of resources may be transferred between persons, that is , whatever is justly held can be freely transferred. The notion of “free” would seem to mean freedom from force, theft, fraud, and so on. Third is the principles of rectification. They determine how an unjust acquisition or transfer of property should be rectified. The entitlement theory says nothing about the process of initial appropriation. However, Nozick appeals to a “Lockean provision” such that an individual can legitimately claim possession of the natural world. Kymlicka summarizes the sentiment succinctly, that is, people own themselves; the world is initially unowned; you can acquire absolute rights over a disproportionate share of the world, if you do not worsen the condition of others ; it is relatively easy to acquire absolute rights over a disproportionate share of…show more content…
Rothbard in his essay "Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State criticizes Nozick theory for the following points. Firstly there is no evidence of any State developed as per Nozick’s description. Secondly, there has no tax theory in Nozick ‘s mind but in real situation every nations have their tax policy. Thirdly, Nozick has not define the level of production and cost of resources in his minimal state . In fact he has no theory of right. Rothbard concluded in his article that no exiting State has been immaculately conceived; and Nozick’s theory of “non-productive” exchanges is invalid. According to the J.W Harris in the Law Quarterly Review (2004) – “Human rights and mythical beasts”, he has proposed six different kinds of right, for example, “the assertion of a domain right refers to a liberty to act or not to act, or a power to control or not to control acts of others, within a protected sphere of action” . His purpose is to survey human-rights invocations and shows that there is different existence conditions for different kinds of rights. Therefore we can see the limitations of Nozick’s theory as he has no theory of right at
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