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In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic or distributive justice. This book unites philosophical discussion of justice with debates on tax policy.
In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property, Murphy and Nagel show how taxes can only be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. Justice or injustice in taxation, they argue, can only mean justice or injustice in the system of property rights and entitlements that result from a particular regime. Taking up ethical issues about individual liberty, interpersonal obligation, and both collective and personal responsibility, Murphy and Nagel force us to reconsider how our tax policy shapes our system of property rights.
In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property, Murphy and Nagel show how taxes can only be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. Justice or injustice in taxation, they argue, can only mean justice or injustice in the system of property rights and entitlements that result from a particular regime. Taking up ethical issues about individual liberty, interpersonal obligation, and both collective and personal responsibility, Murphy and Nagel force us to reconsider how our tax policy shapes our system of property rights.
Is there a limit to the legitimate demands of morality? In particular, is there a limit to people's responsibility to promote the well-being of others, either directly or via social institutions? Utilitarianism admits no such limit, and is for that reason often said to be an unacceptably demanding moral and political view. In this original new study, Murphy argues that the charge of excessive demands amounts to little more than an affirmation of the status quo. The real problem with utilitarianism is that it makes unfair demands on people who comply with it in our world of nonideal compliance. Murphy shows that this unfairness does not arise on a collective understanding of our responsibility for others' well being. Thus, according to Murphy, while there is no general problem to be raised about the extent of moral demands, there is a pressing need to acknowledge the collective nature of the demands of beneficence.
G. A. Cohen was one of the most gifted, influential, and progressive voices in contemporary political philosophy. At the time of his death in 2009, he had plans to bring together a number of his most significant papers. This is the first of three volumes to realize those plans. Drawing on three decades of work, it contains previously uncollected articles that have shaped many of the central debates in political philosophy, as well as papers published here for the first time. In these pieces, Cohen asks what egalitarians have most reason to equalize, he considers the relationship between freedom and property, and he reflects upon ideal theory and political practice. Included here are classic essays such as "Equality of What?" and "Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat," along with more recent contributions such as "Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice," "Freedom and Money," and the previously unpublished "How to Do Political Philosophy." On ample display throughout are the clarity, rigor, conviction, and wit for which Cohen was renowned. Together, these essays demonstrate how his work provides a powerful account of liberty and equality to the left of Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, and Isaiah Berlin.
Derived from Thomas Nagel's Locke Lectures, Equality and Partiality proposes a nonutopian account of political legitimacy, based on the need to accommodate both personal and impersonal motives in any credible moral theory, and therefore in any political theory with a moral foundation. Within each individual, Nagel believes, there is a division between two standpoints, the personal and the impersonal. Without the impersonal standpoint, there would be no morality, only the clash, compromise, and occasional convergence of individual perspectives. It is because a human being does not occupy only his own point of view that each of us is susceptible to the claims of others through private and public morality. Political systems, to be legitimate, must achieve an integration of these two standpoints within the individual. These ideas are applied to specific problems such as social and economic inequality, toleration, international justice, and the public support of culture. Nagel points to the problem of balancing equality and partiality as the most important issue with which political theorists are now faced.
When property rights and environmental legislation clash, what side should the Rule of Law weigh in on? It is from this point that Jeremy Waldron explores the Rule of Law both from an historical perspective - considering the property theory of John Locke - and from the perspective of modern legal controversies. This critical and direct account of the relation between the Rule of Law and the protection of private property criticizes the view - associated with the 'World Bank model' of investor expectations - that a society which fails to protect property rights against legislative restriction is failing to support the Rule of Law. In this book, developed from the 2011 Hamlyn Lectures, Waldron rejects the idea that the Rule of Law privileges property rights over other forms of law and argues instead that the Rule of Law should endorse and applaud the use of legislation to achieve valid social objectives.

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